Who Didn’t Warn Me? 10 Things I Didn’t Totally Realize Before I Got Married

I can’t say “nobody” told me about these things. But I can truthfully say that I may not have heard everything that was said to me in the barrage of life that was hitting. I wrapped up my internship, accepted my first pastoral position, went through 6 weeks of sickness, oh, and got ready for my wedding. So, yeah, life was busy.

For Anne and myself, our wedding was the finale to singleness. It was a goodbye to a year-long engagement (long engagements suck; the waiting, the temptation, the stress…). So the drive from our reception brought this sense of relief. It was like a 3-year weight (length of our dating) lifted off our shoulders. I think we physically walked taller with everything behind us.

I didn’t have to drive her home at the end of the day. We didn’t have to worry about sexual temptation between us anymore (praise God). It was just us and our honeymoon. Life was good.

I would say that it hit us 24 hours after we got back from the honeymoon. Our two worlds of every day, normal living would collide. It was that reality check that told us: the wedding wasn’t the finale, it was the launch. I know somebody probably told me that, but the reality of that didn’t sink in.

Marriage is designed for the long-haul. And part of that difficult and wonderful journey is becoming a student of your spouse, learning to serve without expectations, and constantly remaining teachable.  So in that vein of thought, I asked myself: What are some of the lessons that, I feel, nobody warned me about (or that I took for granted):

  1. You see a partial view of who they really are when you are dating.
    • When you are in the dating mode, you conceal some things. I’m not saying you are being fake; you’re trying to put your best foot forward. It’s why I’ll warn people about the person they’re dating. If it doesn’t seem like they’re even trying to make a good (or truthful) impression upon you, what is awaiting for you in marriage will severely disappoint you.
  2. I’m harder to live with than I realize.
    • I’m used to me. I had lived with me and my way of living for 22 years. So she must be the problem right? I took for granted how drastically different our upbringing was, the daily habits we observed, and the schedule we desired to keep.
  3. Fighting if handled correctly, can actually help bring us together. 
    • I knew we would fight. I just didn’t understand that it would be one of the greatest unifiers in our marriage. But the unifying component depends upon the intent of the conflict. Are you after the win for you? Or are you after the win for the marriage? The goal of resolution creates humility, forgiveness, healing, and growth.
  4. Quality time trumps quantity of time.  
    • I’ve been moving away from the word “balance” in a number of ways. And this falls into that. Anne and I chased after the balance of time.  The church gets “this” much time, the marriage gets “that” much time and so on. Trying to keep everything “even” was exhausting PLUS didn’t feel like it was balanced out. We changed mentalities to embrace quality and concentrated over quantity and diluted. Then there’s the question of what defines “quality time.” That’s for another blog.
  5. We need to forgive more often (amount) than we anticipate and more (depth) than we realized.
    • You didn’t marry the “perfect person” and neither did your spouse. The dating and honeymoon period tends to shroud the brokeness the two of you brought into the marriage. The reality of living together 24/7 reveals it. Don’t let forgiveness get old; practice it often in the same why Christ has given it to you.
  6. Fun is a relative word.  
    • Couples take for granted leisure activities and that is a HUGE mistake. It’s hard to tell you the amount of times Anne said, “are you going to watch the entire football game?” She knew what I like. I knew what she liked. We just took for granted the levels of dedication we had to what we considered “fun.” We had to learn that it was okay to enjoy things together AND things apart. Both are necessary.
  7. Temptation doesn’t stop; it takes on new forms.
    • We were virgins when we got married. So the temptation during that year of engagement was intense. And just because we were married, it didn’t eliminate temptation. The Enemy just targeted us differently. If anything, the greatest temptation we’ve face is the propensity to put “self” first before our spouse. It’s real. It’s an everyday battle.
  8. Sex is more than what society emphasizes AND more important than we realized. 
    • This is the one need that your spouse is equipped to meet that nobody outside of your marriage can provide. Yet our over-sexed media sweeps in to steer us toward dissatisfaction. From commercials to the movies we ingest, our culture constantly seeds false senses of expectations and air-brushed comparisons. Thus the reason why there is an importance of a consistent marital sex and a constant guard of our eyes/minds.   Sexual frequency fights frustrations; serving each other fuels sexual success.
  9. You will say, “I didn’t sign up for this!”
    • We’ve all been there (and quite possibly, visit again). These are the moments that catch us off guard and make us want to throw something at the pastor who did our premarital counseling. I feel we just take for granted the amount of work marriage is mixed with the blending of two people and all of the baggage that comes with it. Simply said: Marriage is tough. It is extremely hard to get your marriage to some place of health AND then try to keep yourself there.
  10. We didn’t realize how realize how much Matthew 22:36-40 would help us.
    • Saved the best for last. Putting Christ first in our relationship helped prioritize the necessity of our relationships. We discovered the love of God and experienced His grace it helps us to live it out to one another. The joy, patience, forgiveness, etc. is all a spillover from what we receive from our relationship with God.

Love you all. I’m sure this list could/should be longer. But there’s so much here already that I pray you might see something that could challenge you to step into a place of humility and teachability. And that’s a place where change is fostered.

 

Blessings.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage Blog: “It’s just not me.”

UW4A7335-14

We’ve all used it to get out of things we don’t want to do.

“Do you want to ride the roller coaster?” “No. It’s just not me.”
“Do you want to try escargot?” “No.  It’s just not me.”
“Do you like country music? “No. It’s just not me.

It’s kind of our nice way of telling people that we have absolutely no interest in what they are offering.  As long as you say it in a nice tone, it’s amazing the stuff it can get you out of.  It’s like a “get out of jail free card” for moments in public places.

FreeJail

Sadly, it’s a line used to often in marriage.  If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times.  I have heard the line used all over the place and in numbers of situations.  Casual conversations with couples, in small groups, dining, counseling…well, you get the picture.  I’ve heard it too much

“All he/she wants to do is talk…it’s just not me.”
“He/she wants to get all romantic…it’s just not me.”
“He/she wants to be involved in volunteering together…it’s just not me.”
“He/she wants is sex…it’s just not me.”
“He/she is more the disciplinarian for the kids…it’s just not me.”
“Well that’s just his/her thing…it’s just not me.”

thats not me

cop out  n. An excuse designed to shirk responsibility.

That’s all this line really is…a cop out.  It’s the marital line we use to shirk responsibility of being an “other-centered” husband/wife that serves our spouse.  (as I type this, I’ve noticed there has been a common thread being woven through my latest blogs…And that thread is simply being a spouse ready to take up not just the JOY but the responsibility of serving our husband/wife.)

We live in such a self-centered ego-driven manipulative culture that is fascinated in pleasuring self.  As blunt as it sounds it’s completely true.

“I have to receive something for me to be happy.”
“What do I get in return if I do what you want?”
“If I get what I want, then you can get what you want.”
“I don’t feel like it. He/she just has to deal with it.”

We feel entitled to have our own needs met with little thought what our spouses needs are.  We justify our actions by calling their “needs”  as “wants” as to calm our conscience.  It is no wonder why people start emotional and physical affairs.  We send out our spouses empty and thirsty and we get upset when someone has stepped up to the plate to fill them up.  Note: I’m not giving ANYONE the excuse for having an affair.  Affairs are wrong no matter how you package them (Matthew 5:27-30).  But as a spouse, we cannot empower what the enemy is wanting to do in our marriage by neglecting our spouse as well as give our significant other an excuse to go looking for attention elsewhere.

Proverbs 5:18-19 Bless your fresh-flowing fountain! Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!  Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose – don’t ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted!

This last part is what this blog is all about. The longer we are with someone (we’ve been married for 16 years + dated for 3 years) the more apt we are to taking them (their wants and needs) for granted.  We assume too much and neglect them.  I would love to assume I’ve never given the excuse “it’s just not me”, but honestly, I think I used it last weekend when she wanted to go for a “romantic walk” on a beach and I was comfortable in the shade.  I’ll say it this way: the more we put off our spouse, the more we push away our spouse.  It could be a walk, a conversation, a date, sex, or a simple cup of coffee, but to ignore them is to take them for granted. And to take them for granted is to stifle the love and passion in your marriage.

Be a listener to your spouse.  Then take that next step from being a listener to serving your spouse.  Get past the “it’s not me” phase and realize, if you are married, whether you like it or not, IT IS YOU! Never take your spouse for granted.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devo Series: Book of Matthew Day 20

Error
This video doesn’t exist
Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we’re going through the Book of Matthew. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Matthew 19

English Standard Version (ESV)

Teaching About Divorce

19 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him,“Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”[a]

10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

Let the Children Come to Me

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

The Rich Young Man

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to haveeternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,[b] when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold[c] and will inherit eternal life. 30 Butmany who are first will be last, and the last first.