Over the course of the week, I have been thinking away about marriage, as always. For anyone who follows this blog, you might have rightly guessed by now that I have recently fallen in love, with my new understanding of unconditional love itself. For me this unconditional love seems to be the mindset to cultivate to most reliably have the marriage of my dreams, giving 100% or one thousand percent to serve my husband in my own role as wife, while praying that God will also be working in my husband’s heart to bring him to the place where he will also willingly give his all to serve me, in all that is good and holy and right. When I think about this kind of marriage, I am so excited!
(As a complete digression, I am also praying that God will give me a man who communicates love in the same way that I do, so that we can understand and appreciate one another – I just wanted to share that with the world!)
Over the course of the week though, while assessing the thoughts in my mind, it occurred to me that there was a very clear way in which I could act to sabotage my marriage, and from there I got to thinking about other things that could arise to hinder even such a marriage as this.
This is the point of this post: to me, from where I am now currently, the idea of a marriage where you are both giving everything to serve one another, where you are both taking the initiative to work out how to serve one another, where you are listening deeply and sincerely to one another, then working on the information received as necessary, and also pouring out to one another as much love, and tenderness, and kindness and forgiveness and hugs as you possibly can – this kind of marriage sounds amazing! I’m sighing away as I dream of how beautiful this would be and I am half tempted to postpone this post so that I can go and pray further that God would give me just such a marriage!
And yet, over the course of the week, it occurred to me very strongly that while I might start off with these noble intentions of serving him unconditionally, being concerned about every detail of his life etc, my natural inclination would be to eventually take my focus off the question of how I could serve him and express concern, to focus instead on the issue of my own needs. The way this became clear to me is as follows: I was simply just thinking on how much I would like a husband, so that he could do this for me, and then that for me, and then he would listen carefully and sympathetically as I talk away at him for hours… Thankfully, I caught myself thinking this way. I have stated it before that I believe and I even know that there can be nothing wrong with being aware of my own needs. However, catching myself thinking like this indicated to me how easy it will be to fall out of the focus on my husband’s needs into a pre-occupation with myself and my own needs. Within an actual marriage, this type of thinking could arise at any time.
So it could be that I have managed to put him first for weeks, or months, or years, or even decades. Then, possibly without realising, I fall into a pre-occupation with my own needs. Or what if I have been trying to serve him lovingly, while praying that God would work through him to serve my own needs, then I decide that I am fed up of being patient, and waiting for God to work, and I start trying to demand my own needs directly from him? What if I look back at all the effort I have already invested, and conclude that I have made enough investments, forgetting all the times that he (my husband) too has been patient with me, and all the times he has tried to meet me halfway, or valiantly stay awake to listen to me talk? I have after all made this decision countless times with my friends, so to act like this would be consistent with my existing nature. However, moving from a focus on my service to my husband to a focus on my own requirements, demanding them from my husband would greatly damage the atmosphere in my marriage, changing it from one of love and trust and positive expectations to one of negativity and constant arguments.
Because this kind of thinking could arise at literally any time, I have to constantly be on my guard to not let myself fall into thinking like this. While reflecting on this, it occurred to me that I have to make it an ongoing prayer request for myself that God would keep me focused on serving my husband, and committed to this, even as I pray that my husband would equally be committed to serving me. So this is one big threat that could easily arise, even in an “unconditional love” marriage.
Another big threat that could always be looming is this: lack of time. I have previously written that I believe that lack of time is one big threat generally facing relationships today. It is the one big threat in my personal relationship with God.
There are two big ramifications concerning marriage:
1. Lack of time with one another
2. Lack of time to pray for ourselves, for one another, for the marriage
Lack of quality time might mean that my husband and I don’t have sufficient time to really be “married”, at least the way that I dream about marriage. I am strongly hoping as I write this that real life will not eventually force me to become “realistic”, because I must confess that I am currently loving my “unrealistic” dreams! That is, life today seems to be all rush rush rush, whereas I want to luxuriate in time spent with my husband, and just have hours and hours together, not necessarily doing anything, but just being together. I don’t want to have to snatch minutes here or miliseconds there of tired greetings before falling asleep, exhausted. Rather I want to be lavish with the thing, so that he and I would literally spend our lives together.
Has anyone else ever noticed that all of this seems to be reflected in the way the media talks about married couples? I don’t know whether I am reading too much into these things but it seems that when describing someone who is married, the media will seem to describe that one person as an individual entity, talking about who they are, what they do, their aspirations etc, then at the end they will tack on the fact that they are married to so and so, as if the two parties to the marriage are two individuals living two lives who just happen to have an association with one another, rather than that they are one individual unit, bound together in a way that cannot be separated, together living one life… Perhaps it is quite ironic that I of all people am talking like this, as I have always been very strong on the idea that I will remain an individual and my own person after I get married. However while I expect to remain my own person I definitely do believe that the marriage will create one unit; this is the Christian view of marriage and this is what I want!
Lack of time would also be an issue regarding prayers for our marriage. Ideally I would love to invest lots of time to pray for our marriage. However, it may turn out with general busy-ness that time to pray is in short supply as it currently is now even while I am still single. This could be lethal as we can trust that the devil will find ways to attack our marriage, and deep and sustained prayer is the one thing that would keep him at bay.
So then these would be a couple of threats that I would be aware of regarding my “unconditional love” marriage. I may yet think of a few more. However, my task now is to think of ways to plan around these issues, so that by the grace of God they would not have a chance to grow to the point of poisoning my marriage.
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Photo of sleeping bulldog from Pixabay