Wednesday, February 03, 2010
A Healthy Marriage
I love this post on marriage. It just hit so close to home (a little too close, maybe?). I have been wanting to write about marriage, but it's so hard to fully explain what I want to say in a condensed blog post.
I grew up with a (subconscious) perfect view of marriage. I saw what marriage was in my home and I knew that wasn't what I wanted, so the next example was my friend's parents. I knew they were Christians and they loved God and in front of me their marriages were perfect. Of course, they never fought or cried or were annoyed or dealt with issues because who would do that in front of their teenage daughters friends. In my immaturity I just thought, again subconciously, that these things didn't exist in their marriages. Unfortunately, I took this dangerous view into my own marriage.
When Eric would do (or not do) something that didn't fit into my view of the perfect husband I would get really hurt and feel rejected and angry. I've joked before that I always imagined I'd marry the perfect man who would put up with all of my own imperfections (unfortunately, I was only half joking). Obviously, Eric couldn't meet those standards, which left me really unhappy. When we'd talk about our marriage he would feel fine and I would be like, "you don't love me, you're not passionate about me." (And, it's also unfortunate, that we got some really, really bad counsel that told me my crazy standards of passion and love were realistic. Not surprising that he's no longer married.)
While Eric was completely satisfied in our marriage I was always looking at what was wrong- comparing us to other couples and him to other husbands. I read the article from Passionate Homemaking out loud to Eric and we both laughed, because we knew it was true for me. "Ultimately, deep down I wanted him to be consumed with me and my needs." I was wanting to only take and wanting Eric to only give. I was hurt and bitter that he wasn't doing all of the things that I had thought it my head a husband should do (like the men in movies, you know? That's so realistic, right?) all the while not doing anything myself except pouting and becoming bitter.
I think God for beginning the process of changing my mind and my expectations. I'm seeing that the more I force Eric to give, the more he holds back. The more I give, the more he gives free of my expectations. I'm learning that loving your spouse is a means to please God and should be free of every expectation. And, that no marriage is perfect, but that doesn't mean it can't be completely satisfying. My marriage is an incredible gift from God, but my husband isn't God- he doesn't complete me or satisfy all of my needs.
And, I can't write this without saying (again) how incredibly thankful I am for my husband. You've heard me say before that if I was married to anyone else I wouldn't still be married. That isn't a joke. When we were first dating and engaged I would think about how Eric is such a rock- so strong, steady, not lead by his emotions, and this has proven to be true nine years later.