I huddled over the Bible I was given in high school, the leather edges struggled just as hard to keep the pages together as I was struggling to keep my marriage together.
I read Proverbs 31:10, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” RUBIES? The only rubies I think of are the ones that Little John kissed off Price John’s fingers in Disney’s Robinhood as he was dressed as a fortune teller. Converting the worth of rubies from Biblical times to modern times isn’t exactly rocket science, but it still doesn’t compute. Which is probably why reading Proverbs 31 only helped clarify what I WASN’T doing as a wife.
Cliff and my first few months were not picturesque. In fact, we fought on our honeymoon. Non-Christian counselors might have suggested we reconsider our marriage if they had known what all went on those first few months. There were many times I debated tossing in the towel, convinced I had to have misheard God if something I thought He sanctified was going so poorly–surely He didn’t WANT His children to struggle so much for love. We just had problems keeping it together.
But it wasn’t my place to keep my marriage together, it was God’s and the more I tried the more I failed, and the more frustrated I got with myself. I questioned the choices I had made. I questioned whether I heard from God when it came to marrying my husband–and every time I had the thought of myself making a wrong choice in marrying Cliff, there was a firm correction in my spirit. I knew better than to question that part of my life–not because I shouldn’t question it, but because I didn’t have to question it.
Matthew 19:6 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
Cliff knew we were going to be married well before I got the memo–a month after we began dating in fact. But nearly instantly I trusted his ability to hear from God. Cliff has way more faith and discernment in trial than I do. I wasn’t gifted that way–I worry, I fret, I plan, I don’t instantly have faith that it will all work out. However, God has forced me to work on that–despite my protests. My discernment comes into play with people’s intentions and angles–not from trial.
Becoming a wife isn’t an overnight thing, it isn’t something brides figure out a month into marriage or even a year or five years into marriage–it’s a continual tweaking. Just as we physically, mentally and emotionally change with age, as does our relationship with our spouse and those around us. It isn’t a simple process, it’s complex and oftentimes painful. Detaching yourself from yourself and smooshing it rather forcefully with another person isn’t something that can be mastered overnight. Those who figure marriage out quickly–I envy you. OR I think you are horrifically bluffing and the rest of us are here waiting with tissues and ice cream when you need to CIO (that’s “Cry it Out” for those non-mommies and daddies out there.)
Cliff and I struggled pretty badly with control issues in our marriage. I am designed to rejoice in difference while trying to merge everyone into the same groove. Think preschool. Every child is so drastically unique with no real leveler until school comes along–your mom and dad or grandma and grandpa or aunt and uncle raised you a certain way. The “right” way for them. Then when you go to school, all the kids are all on the same playing field, your “right” is someone else’s “wrong” and just because your Granna puts ketchup on steak doesn’t mean that’s the only way to eat it. I am wired to help others see differing perspectives.
We all understand our differences when it comes to preferences and likes, but as soon as two people say “I do” it’s almost like a battle for who is right or more right orrr slightly more right. SO many of our conversations ended with “just because it isn’t YOUR way doesn’t make it wrong.”
Cliff and I survived our first years, we learned to adapt and accept the differences we struggled with. I’d like to think we are out of the proverbial woods now, but I know that every couple has their fights and misunderstandings and that kids bring out a new layer of crazy.
But I hope that new brides and grooms would have someone around them to help explain the merger of two souls so that they don’t have to duke it out like Cliff and I did–fists clinched, words pre-chosen, and second guessing God-divine initiatives.
And for those of you who had blissful mergers–I stand by my comment earlier about ice cream.
Seriously I always have at least two cartons.