This weekend, my husband and I celebrated 11 years of wedded bliss.
As usual, I became a bit reflective and sentimental on our special day. Eleven years is a long marriage by many current standards, and during that time we have both morphed into slightly different versions of ourselves.
My hair is at least 6-8 inches shorter and his is completely gone. Our faces show a few extra wrinkles and our waistlines have slightly expanded. I stay up a little later and he goes to bed a little earlier.
Marriage has changed us. The gospel has changed us.
Actually, the gospel has changed me.
Understanding that the death and resurrection of Christ affects every minute of my life has given me a different perspective on the qualities I strive for in our marriage.
For instance, I want to be a humble wife. I want to respectfully submit to my husband's authority for our family. My default as a human being is the complete opposite though. My immediate reactions are usually tainted with pride. I see in the gospel an example of humility in Christ's incarnation and crucifixion, but if I simply try to copy His meekness on my own, I will become hopelessly frustrated. It is not until I submit myself to the Father and ask for the Spirit's empowerment that I can ever humbly defer to my husband.
I want to be a forgiving wife. I don't want to hold grudges especially over silly things like piles of commentaries or empty coffee cups (just examples, of course). When my heart is overwhelmed with the depth of my own depravity and the abundance of God's forgiveness toward me, I find my heart naturally overflowing with grace to my husband.
I want to be a loving wife. I want to offer both affection and sacrifice freely to my spouse. If I am going to effectively follow the command to love one another found in I John 4:7-8, I have to realize that love does not originate with me. My natural heart will always choose the complete opposite of love. God's love was completely undeserved and unreciprocated. While we were broken and unlovely, God pursued us with His perfect love. I love my husband with the love that I have been given through Christ.
The point is, I can't "wife" effectively without the gospel. Our marriage has no hope of survival without the hope of Christ at its center. The longer we're married, I'm discovering I actually need my husband less and depend on Christ's faithfulness more.
I pray that the next eleven years of our marriage will be saturated with the good news of Jesus. It is only in that framework that any relationship can hope to survive.
P.S. I love you Adam!
**Scheduling note: As a homeschooling family, we're enjoying our summer break right now. We will be doing some traveling, soaking in the sun, and catching up on some reading. Because of that, I will be taking a short hiatus from blogging/podcasting for the next month or so! I'll be posting some of our summer fun over on Instagram though! Join me there?