Marriage – A Permanent Covenant
by Jessica Shaffer
I felt the need to share my opinion after reading and experiencing some of life’s obstacles. I am a huge advocate of implementing one’s faith into their relationship, and in turn letting God be the foundation of a blossoming marriage. To say that “marriage,” is an easy institution is a fallacy. Marriage is an intense, and sometimes capricious commitment that involves many hours of pruning, up keep, and compromise. After six years of marriage, I can honestly say that I’ve given it my all – and in turn it has been the most rewarding experience of my life.
My husband Gary and I have built a strong relationship over the years. So much so, that words are not even needed to know whether the other is hurting. We can see stress in each other’s eyes, we can feel that prayer is needed, and we even recognize when fasting is essential to the breaking of strongholds and circumstances. You see, marriage craves order and unity. It desires respect and love. Without these key components, young or old consenting adults tend to lose the bigger picture of what God wants in our lives, our growth, and our commitments.
Our relationship with our spouse is a direct correlation with the relationship we have with God. Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called”. The intense passion we sometimes may feel in our flesh, needs to be spanned even to the most miniscule aspects of our daily lives. Marriages are hard work, and just as God holds us to a certain level of responsibility, we must too implement discernment and favor in our relationship.
How easy is it to say, I don’t feel the way I do when I first met my spouse? Of course we will not feel like we are on cloud nine. Because like every progression in life, we go through different stages. We grow, we mature, and like a child we reach a point in life that we realize there is a level of expectation. Despite the notion of wanting to be “young” forever, we need grow up and realize marriage asks a lot of us. Marriage is not a game or a toy. It is a serious commitment, when we grow bored with it, we do not simply throw it away. It must be nurtured every day.
The stages of marriage are different for every couple. Some couples’ may experience the “honey moon” stage for an extended period of time -in our case it was a year. For others’ it has been as long as three. But after that stage, comes reality. Problem solving skills come into play. Money management, job decisions, pregnancy and children can change the dynamics significantly. These aspects contribute to a lot of stress at times, but the foundation you create before these become obstacles is crucial. I cannot stress this enough, communication, communication, communication!
Just like our daily prayer life with Christ, must our relationship communicate effectively with our partner. Despite not needing words to know something is wrong with my spouse, I do know that after that inkling is founded – we need to talk to each other. This allows us to grow and set the tone for tomorrow. Unresolved issues, like in any other relationship can fester. Don’t let the scab of regret, resentment, or anger take the place of love you have for your spouse. Heal the wounds, move forward and don’t look back to previous issues. Just as Christ washed us of our sins, and forgave us for our transgressions, we too must have a soft heart for the one’s we love.
Finally, I want to implement the fact that “divorce,” should never be an option. Marriage is a permanent covenant between two loving and consenting adults who have chosen to take a positive and eternal step forward in their relationship. If you walk into your marriage thinking that divorce is an option from day one, you have planned to fail. The “bail out,” card shouldn’t even exist in your deck. It’s immature – period.
I could get into the dynamics of cheating, and other grounds for divorce – but this is not that kind of episode. God will guide you through those challenges, and you will know what is right in those cases.
In conclusion, I do not want to scare those who want to get married into thinking that marriage is all doom and gloom. I am a happily married twenty-something young woman who has been changed positively because of the wonderful union I have with Gary. He and I have grown a small seed into a young tree. Our tree has taken root and is growing a little bit every day. And as the seasons change, so will it. But that doesn’t mean it won’t blossom or grow the following season. I love my husband with all my heart, and couldn’t express more the joys I’ve had in getting to know him more and more each day. He truly is the love of my life – and together our tree will bear fruit in the years to come…