I have written many letters to you in my head. I would wake up in the middle of the night and your loving and caring affection for my kids would come to mind. Prayers and good wishes went out in your name. And recently I would think of what I would say to you before getting married, and after for that matter. I attempted to write this letter many times but when sitting and trying to type words were gone. So I waited. I prayed. And now here I am.
This letter isn’t to keep you from making mistakes that’s inevitable — you will. Don’t live avoiding them. You simply will. Mistakes are necessary. They’re like the Law. Without the law there is no grace. So free yourself from performing to attain. Rather:
- Know God, pursue him and the rest would be added onto you by grace through Faith.
- Ask for wisdom. A wise woman builds her home and a fool tears it down. Don’t ask for riches or children or position – ask for wisdom.
I only have the perspective of 11 years of marriage and I can’t write in one post all the lessons I’ve learn in all those years. My goal here isn’t to fill you with stuff to remember but rather to encourage you to live fully, for the Lord, in your new role as a wife.
- In Jesus we can live fully. Seek to know Jesus more and you’ll discover Christ’s infinite love for his church, for that is what a gospel-centered marriage points to – Jesus.
- Living fully brings pain and joy, but both are essential to grow in His likeness. Make it your business, Beth, to seek the Lord daily. Don’t waste your days with vain pursuits. Be wise with your time.
Marriage is what you make of it. You may not have the final authority but you have the privilege and influence to build your marriage or tear it down.
- In quietness and trust shall be your strength. (Isa. 30:15). If the garbage is not taken out, pray. If the dirty clothes are never where they need to be, pray. Be quiet. Trust the Lord. And pray. The more you discover he is not as perfect as you thought, the more you need to pray. Tell God, not Nick. Ask God, not Nick. The Lord either will change your heart or he will change his.
- Pray in private. Pray with Nick. Pray with others.
In intimacy, you know how I feel, keep it intimate or else it ceases to be intimate. Have discretion with others. Keep that door closed to all outsiders and in doing so, you will cultivate a healthier intimacy perfect for you and Nick.
- Be jealous for that intimacy to be only for you and Nick to explore, to work on, and to delight in together.
Remember you married a man. He is defined by that fact. He may be talkative but he is still a man! His reactions and drives are defined by his God given makeup. He will define your love for him by the respect and “receiving” you give him.
- Seek to love him well by showing him respect, as he deems it, and by receiving him when he needs it.
You essentially will be out on your own for the first time now as a married woman. All decisions and responsibilities will now fall fully on you both. Combined backgrounds and different ways of upbringing guarantees you, at the very least, a time and a season to figure things out.
- Be patient.
- Resist correcting him.
- Welcome his leadership. Remember there is no manual. He is learning as much as you are.
Here’s where that big word we like to toss around comes into play: Submit.
- The vision and goal of submission isn’t to show how wise he is and how mature you are. It is to reflect the cross. Think of that for a moment. Jesus laid down his life for his bride – the church. That ought to alter your motives…The greatest act of love does that.
- Be amiable. Be willing to hear your husband. He will know you better than anyone and no one can help more than him.
- Seek to yield, to submit, quicker and quicker each time.
Speak to him, not others. Say what you need to say to him. I know your struggle is not to speak too much, but not enough. Open up. Nick needs you to speak. To reason. To affirm him. It won’t always be easy and it will most likely be a stretch for you, but you will not be helping if you don’t.
Welcome his strengths and help him in his weaknesses. Here’s where you will blossom. Your strengths will cover his weaknesses and his strengths, if welcome, will protect you and care for you well.
Last but not least, what you both need most is grace. Be liberal in your grace giving. Extend it often. Exhibit it freely. Ask for it when in need. Grace saves! Grace rescues. It redeems. It reconciles. It causes us to pray. Grace causes to give praise. Grace leads to worship, in deed. Grace brings peace – real peace.
I don’t know what lies ahead for you both, but regardless, rich or poor, health or sickness, God is good.
With much love,