Searching through the book of Philippians, I realize it is also full of practical words for enduring marriage, including chapter 3:13-15 about pressing on, reaching forward, not looking back, but looking forward to what lies ahead.
I’ve found this passage especially helpful when hurts from the past in our marriage try to paralyze and prevent me from forgiving and moving forward. During these struggles, I think about the future, about enjoying our growing family together, and what our staying together means to our family as a whole.
Another helpful verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” It does take strength to stay married, more than I’m capable on my own, especially when I feel lonely, forgotten, tired, angry, unhappy, or disappointed.
Additionally, in Philippians 4:19, God assures me that He will supply all my needs according to His riches. So I see that no matter what our current employment or financial situation is it’s not ever really dependent on our efforts or situation.
What’s great is this verse doesn’t merely speak to material needs, but also emotional and spiritual needs like companionship, comfort, joy, contentment, encouragement, and peace. And Scripture’s encouragement for the married doesn’t stop there!
Proverbs 31:10-31 also provides me with insight as to what marriage might be like in life. It addresses my willingness to help my husband in everyday, practical needs in our life together.
Fine Tuning Expectations
More and more, I realize that my expectations for marriage can affect my satisfaction. Unrealistic ones will cause me to feel disappointed because marriage hasn’t meant that I’ve never felt lonely, unloved, grieved, unappreciated, or fearful.
As I turn to scripture to see a picture of marriage, I see that God didn’t design marriage as the answer to my every need, deficient, and desire, because He wants to be the One that meets my every need.
Rather, matrimony is a great training ground for learning that I need Him daily, even hourly, in the challenges and growth that comes in marriage. It’s a place where God works on my weaknesses, increases my strengths, and generally refines me to become more and more a woman made in His image.
It’s a relationship where I learn to rely more on Him for his unconditional love, comfort, companionship, encouragement and much more. A union that helps me discover how to share His love and goodness with my husband and others. And a situation where I especially better understand that:
He is my Provider, and is able and equipped to meet my every need
God will not ever disappoint me
And He has chosen to love me
Over the years I’ve been learning that God can work through my husband to meet needs in my life, as He also works through me to help meet his needs, but in both our cases, we aren’t the source, only the messengers. God is our source for comfort, joy, peace, contentment, and love.
So, as far as finding a card that is sincere and comes my from heart, the next time words something like,” You’re the One that I Love” catches my eye, I’m sure my thoughts will turn again to the One who first loved me.
As a writer, words are important to me. I carefully weigh how to use each one, what they convey, and to whom they speak.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me then that with each year’s selection of a Christmas, birthday, and Valentine’s Day card for my husband, the greetings’ words go through a biblical filter somewhat like:
The card claims, “You make my life complete.”
Well, no, Colossians 2:10 says that “in Him you have been made complete.”
Another one states, “Didn’t know love before you.”
Not exactly. 1 John 4:19 tells me, “We love because He first loved us.”
Still another, “You fulfill my every need.” Ah, will pass. After all, Matthew 6:8 states, “…your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.”
Before marriage or even as a new bride, I may have chosen one of the above cards, especially based on how love and marriage are portrayed in films and on TV.
However, the high expectations many girls have that a husband will meet all a wife’s needs in marriage, are sure to leave many women feeling alone, disappointed, and disillusioned.
Eventually, my card rummaging results in the discovery of more truthful sentiments that better fit my understanding and experience of holy matrimony.
“We’ve had our ups and downs.” More like it.
“I’m glad we’re on this adventure together.” Adventure…that’s one way to describe it. Smile.
When I finally discover one of these heartfelt cards, it reinforces what marriage has taught me through the years. I’ve learned:
My husband can’t and isn’t equipped to meet my every need, as I’m not able to meet his every need
He is going to disappoint me at times, as I will him
Love is not a feeling, it’s a moment by moment, daily choice.
Biblical Insights for Marriage
Scripture teems with verses that speak to married couples. Just think about Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10. It offers a picture of marriage as a lifelong journey when it says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will life up his companion.”
These verses bring to mind the spectrum of seasons my husband and I have faced together. There are the times when my husband and I have both been employed and able to enjoy the extras that come with the two incomes. There have been times when my husband was in school full-time or unemployed and I helped to provide needed finances. Or, where I’ve been at home full-time and he’s been held down two or more jobs to provide for us. It also brings to mind the times when we’ve experienced losses and disappointment, and we’ve leaned on each other to help us walk through the challenges.
Copyright © Lynette Kittle. Used with permission.
Lynette Kittle is married and mother of four daughters. She is also the associate editor of Ungrind.com, associate producer for Soul Check TV aired on the NRB Network, and has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University. Her writing on marriage, family, parenting, and faith has been published in numerous publications.