Written by Joey Mielke / September 2017
Marriage is like a road trip. There are smooth roads, there are bumpy roads, there may even be some off-roading. There are turns, there are hills, and sometimes mountains. You may even run out of gas along the way. There are potholes, some bigger than others, there are traffic jams, and there are bridges that need to be crossed. Sometimes there’s nothing on the radio that you want to listen to, and sometimes you have trouble staying awake and focused.
Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, Your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, Walk in it.’” Just when you think you have come to a nice, smooth road in your life and everything is going the way you want it to, you hit a pothole, and there is damage done. But there, right in front of you, there is a bridge. You beat the dents out of yourself, cross that bridge, and before you know it you are on the nice, smooth road once again. As a mother at twenty one years of age, who is happily married and has a perfect little girl, I can say that I would not be where I am in life if it wasn’t for my faith in Christ. I was treading on a road that I thought was the right one for me, and I thought I had it all figured out, not a pothole or obstacle in sight! Then before you know it, I’m withdrawing from school, standing before an altar marrying my boyfriend of almost four years, and in a few short months holding my beautiful daughter in my arms. And I have never been happier in my entire life.
I have been asked several times how marriage, being a mother, and life in general seems so easy for me, especially my being so young. The answer is simple: it is FAR from easy, but I love my life because God is in control of it and He has made it perfect. If you can wake up every day with a smile on your face and joy in your heart simply by the knowledge that God has got your back ALL day EVERY day for your entire life, and you don’t have to spend one second worrying about anything at all. . . what do you have to be unhappy about? When you trust that God will take care of you and your family, there is no need to spend time worrying about things you can’t control. That is time you can spend being a good wife, a good mother, and a good person in general, being a witness for Christ.
Every married couple has their problems. Marriage isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Like a new car, it needs maintenance to keep it running smoothly. My husband works extremely hard. He works almost every day and long hours, he takes care of me and our little girl, and the most important thing to Him is keeping his family well provided for, happy, and safe. For all married couples out there, how often do you find yourself feeling peeved about “always” having to wash the dishes, or “always” having to take out the trash, or “always” having to do this, or “always” having to do that? When this happens, you need to take a breath, take a step back, and take a good, long look at all the things your spouse does for you that you may otherwise overlook. On days when I feel like I’m going to explode and just want to lay down with a pillow over my head, I look at my husband and I think: “He works almost every day, and gets home late, helps take care of our baby all day the next day and then goes back to work to repeat the cycle all over again. He does all this to provide for US, because he loves US, and he loves the Lord and knows that that’s his job as my husband and as Robyn’s father.” After thinking about that for awhile, I WANT to put away his laundry, I WANT to wash his dishes, I no longer look at all these things as chores. Husbands, what do your wives do? Keep the house clean and in order, grocery shopping and cooking, taking care of the kids, making sure your laundry gets done? Maybe she doesn’t work forty hours a week, maybe she doesn’t go to school, but she works extremely hard as well. God gave you your spouse and your spouse is a gift, and like any precious gift, you should treasure it and want to take good care of it as much as you possibly can.
There are times in marriage where you come to disagreements, and arguments can get heated and out of control. Admitting you are wrong is one of the hardest things for a person to do. Have you ever found yourself mad at your spouse or significant other, and you WANT to just hug them and make up with them, but at the same time you want them to know that you are mad so you keep on giving them the cold shoulder hoping to not have to make the first move to make up? Pride can be an ugly thing. I find myself in this position all too often. One thing I have learned in the short time I have been married is that it never fails to be the bigger person. What if your spouse or significant other does something that is obviously wrong, and you are upset, and they refuse to apologize or make it up to you? What do you do? Do you remain mad and give the silent treatment until you get your apology? No. You embrace them, remind them you love them, and keep on with life just like you did before. Did Jesus look down from the cross as He was dying and curse those that hurt Him? He told His Father to forgive them, because He loved them all. A wife can love her husband best when she loves Christ most. It is Christ’s love that fill us and flows out of us to others, filling them up with love as well. Going back to an old grade school favorite, 1 John 4:19- “We love because He first loved us.” It is because of God that we have the ability to love. God created us in His image, and God IS love. When God enters our hearts and fills us with His grace and love, it is impossible not to let it come bursting out of us, and spread it to everyone we see, including our spouses.
Prayer is an amazingly powerful thing. Do you ever find yourself troubled by something having to do with your spouse? Perhaps your spouse does something that bothers you, or hurts your feelings, or maybe you are having problems with your marriage in general? When you pray, do you find yourself saying, “Help my husband to….” or, “help my wife to…?” If you are having problems with your spouse, obviously the first thing to do is sit down with them and have a conversation about it and try to work it out. Praying TOGETHER is extremely important. But if you find yourself alone and your thoughts are getting to you and you want to pray, instead of praying, “Lord, help my spouse to change,” pray, “Lord, change ME.” If you find yourself getting upset with your spouse when he or she does something or says something, your first reaction is naturally going to be to get upset. Next time you find yourself in this position, remain calm and ask God for the proper strength to deal with the situation. If you keep giving your spouse the cold shoulder and you play the same “I’m not going to be myself until I get my apology” card, you’re going to keep going around and around in a vicious cycle and your spouse is going to get tired of it, and soon enough, tired of YOU, and it’s a very unhealthy thing for a marriage. Always being a witness of Christ in life and your marriage, and being a constant beacon of light and optimism to your spouse will only make your marriage stronger. When you break down and let yourself be the bigger person, it strengthens the bond between you and your spouse, and in an instant your love is stronger than it was five minutes ago. At the time, being the bigger person seems like the hardest thing in the world to do, but the next day, you won’t remember what it is you were mad about, and you will have a happy husband, or a happy wife, by your side. Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Be not quick in your Spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.”
It’s often said that when you constantly tell yourself something that is not true, or something that is highly over exaggerated, you will soon believe it. When you talk about your spouse to others, always build your spouse UP. Never say things about your spouse that makes him or her seem anything less than amazing. If you are constantly complaining about, and bashing, your spouse to others, pretty soon that’s how you are going to see your spouse. Our downfalls and our mistakes do not define us as people. Never relate your spouse to a mistake they may have made, or to something they do or say, that bothers you. Love them unconditionally every day. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Now, add a child, or several, to the mix. . . it is very true that having a child can bring a husband and wife closer together and strengthen the bond they have together. However, it is extremely important that you keep your marriage healthy not only for you and your spouse’s sake, but for your children’s sake as well. If you let your marital problems leak into your parenting, it can make things very hard for your child, and even more difficult for you. Through every tough moment with your child, work through it together with your spouse, and have an equal amount of hands from both you and your spouse play a part in your child’s life. As was said previously, build your spouse up to your children as well. To children, their parents are the most important people for a good portion of their young lives. You would never want to make your child think anything less of their mother or father. Having a child is an amazing thing for any married couple. On the worst days, or the most stressful days, you can look at your child and feel instant happiness. You feel proud to be their parent, and you should be proud to be the spouse of your husband or wife who gave you that blessing.
The base of any successful marriage is Christ. Build your marriage on the foundation of Christ, and constantly build up your marriage with His Word. It’s the perfect blueprint for a wonderful, and blessed marriage.