I have been writing this blog post in my head for months now, but I guess it’s about time to put pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard.
I recently watched a clip of a popular reality dating show, in which one of the perfectly chiseled contestants stated, “All I want is her. Every day. Every moment. She is all that I need.”
I imagined all of the young girls that I know who watch this show swooning over this moment and thinking that if they could just have a guy who thinks this way one day, they will be happy.
As human beings with souls, we are always going to be seeking fulfillment in something. Our culture has placed fulfillment in romantic relationships on a pedestal so high that those who try and reach it are met with failure and disappointment when it falls down and crashes.
Now that I am married, I can see that this idea of fulfillment in a relationship with my husband cannot lead to true joy. I love my husband, he is amazing. He loves my daughter and I so much better that I could have ever imagined. He would lay down his life for me, and does this metaphorically all of the time. And yet even with this love I still find fault in his actions.
Francis Schaeffer said,
“If you demand perfection or nothing, you will always end up with nothing.”
I have realized more and more that as a woman in our culture, I have been trained to demand perfection from others at the expense of my own happiness. When people make mistakes or do something differently that I would have wanted, I find that this picture perfect ideal of what I want them to be crashes to the ground.
One of these ideals for me is time. The truth is that in the real world (most of the time) you don’t spend every waking moment with your spouse.
I realized that in a couple of my favorite TV shows, all of the married couples worked together and spent most of their time together. I began to find myself wishing that I had that time with my husband… those funny every day kind of moments. But the truth is he works very long hours, many weekends, goes out of town… and I work from home with our daughter and dog. So I have been disappointed with my husband because of an ideal that I had been shown my entire life in movies and television… all the while forsaking to enjoy and cherish the time that God has given us together.
In my demanding of the perfect and ideal marriage, it has been draining my joy and satisfaction in the Lord.
For those who desire marriage more than anything and don’t have it yet, I just wanted to write and tell you that it is not enough. I know what you must be thinking; it’s easy for me to say that, but I am married. I will say, however, that I have not always had Cody (obviously). There was a time when I was certain that I would be single for the rest of my life. I spent a year or so pretty depressed about it. Some of you are truly dealing with stages of life in singleness that I have not lived through, and those are paths and valleys the Lord never brought me through... I can't speak into the purpose of why God has you there, but He can and He will. When Cody and I were dating, I spent a lot of my time just wishing we were married. Then when we finally were, the hardest times of my entire life came tumbling down like dominoes. Cody and I realized fast that in the face of tragic loss we could not depend fully on one another for fulfillment.
There was only one rock to stand on in our marriage; the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Marriage is so good. God created it to be good. But it is not enough.
As I write these words, they sting my own soul. We have to look to the perfection of Christ on the cross for our fulfillment, and not in the perfection of our marriage. We have to trust God’s working in the heart of our spouse and not try to mold and shape things into the ways we think they should be.
I so desire to cherish these days with my family, to laugh and to love. I’ve grown weary of looking at couple’s Instagram adventures and feeling sad as I sit alone folding laundry. More time with my husband won’t fix that, even having a husband in general won’t fix that loneliness. The only cure to that loneliness is knowing God’s never ending love for us. His mercy, peace, and righteousness are made new every morning. Oh that I would live there in the peace, and not just visit for a short while. This short song has really spoken to me recently and helped to remind me where to stay my feet.
"Be thou to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come Be thou to me the strength of my salvation, the rock that I stand on will never fall For Lord you are God, and I am unworthy Thank you for loving me in spite of my sin For Your Love is life. Without it, I am nothing Help me to stand on Your firm foundation." (Ellie Holcomb)