It’s been a while since I have written on my blog, partly because I haven’t been spending much time alone, but also because the writing I have done has been deeply personal (even for me) and is not something I feel I should share publicly, as it affects more than just me. However, today, I had a conversation with a friend that made me want to try and explain what God has been teaching me and where I am in my spiritual walk. I’m not sure this will end up blog worthy, but it’s a step up from simply writing in my journal, so let’s see what happens.
A friend of mine, who has also never been married and is not currently interested in dating, was telling me about her friend’s engagement and the conversation soon turned to our experiences in relationships. It has been a very long time since I have been in a relationship, for good reason, as I have never been too successful in that department. My last attempt was a complete disaster, and the ones when I was younger were not much better. I have blogged about all of this before, although I took down one of my more insightful blogs written in December 2011 because I was hesitant about portraying anyone in a negative light. However, while it’s easy to blame other people for your problems, the reality is that my struggles in the relationship department have more to do with my relationship with God than my experiences in life.
I think that’s why I want to publicly share my thoughts on this topic, because when I was talking to my friend about everything, she told me it is good that my current relationship is based on God, as she doesn’t even think of God when she considers dating. I said this is a relatively new feeling for me, and explained how looking at love and marriage through the lens of God is the only way I could ever envision it working out for me.
I have always said that it’s good I never married as I would have ended up getting divorced or being miserable, and that’s a very true statement. Part of this is that I was a huge perfectionist, and wanted this perfect prince to sweep me off my feet, so we could live happily ever after. But, I had a very negative self-image and never really felt worthy of such a prince, and thus didn’t looked for the right men in the right places, nor did I give them much reason to respect me. I could go on and on, but you get the picture… Bottom line, God was not remotely involved in my desires, much less the center of my world.
All of this began to change in 2007 when I became a Christian, but my relationship dysfunction was still very prevalent when I wrote that blog in December 2011. God has definitely been getting through to me ever since that time, and while He still has a long way to go, I am beginning to see everything differently. It has been and will continue to be a struggle, but it’s definitely drawing me closer to God, and that tells me it’s a good thing.
Studying God’s covenant with us and realizing that marriage is a model for Christ’s relationship with the Church has really opened my eyes to how everything is supposed to work. Even at our recent women’s retreat, the speaker made a great comment about marriage. She said that marriage is being faithful in spite of how the other person is behaving, which is how God has always been faithful to the Church.
I am far from perfect and I disappoint God every day, often because I choose to. Yet, God still upholds His end of the bargain, every day, despite my many failures. I do not deserve His love, yet He lavishes it on me completely. For the first time in my life, I see that a marriage isn’t supposed to be about me, but rather about glorifying God and putting an imperfect person ahead of myself. I fully want to share the grace that God has given me.
If God can love me selflessly, why would I not strive to love my husband in this manner?
If God forgives me every time I stumble, why would I not want to show my husband the same grace and mercy?
If God’s way is always shown to be better than mine, why wouldn’t I consider letting go of my control and following His plan completely, including His model for marriage?
I honestly don’t see how a marriage could ever work without God being the center of both people’s lives. I assume most people are just as flawed as I am and not only mess up with God, but mess up with each other frequently! If I was married, I know I would constantly let my husband down trying to live in my own strength. I think this could easily lead to anger and resentment in the absence of God. Even with God as the basis for the relationship, the potential is still there because we live in a fallen world and people tend to be quite selfish. I am realistic enough to admit that simply seeing God’s way as the answer does not make it easier to get everything right. There are currently many ways I *want* to glorify God and I am falling short, so I know my desires are not enough on their own. Marriage would be a daily struggle with the flesh, just like everything else in life. But, anyone who has known me for a while realizes that even getting to this place emotionally and spiritually is huge for me.
I am so grateful that God brought an amazing man into my life, one who has his own set of challenges. I love how everything has happened, not necessarily in the way I have “wanted”, but in a way that provides incredible opportunities for me to grow personally and learn to trust God for everything. I honestly find the struggles to be more meaningful than if everything went the way I envisioned. I am slowly letting go of my need to control everything related to my life. I love how God keeps bringing transparent people into my life who are dealing with issues that seem to perfectly tie into what I am experiencing. I can see God’s hand in everything I do and that is such an incredible comfort and blessing. I am truly enjoying the journey more than any other time in my life and it’s all because of God…