It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! This week I’m taking a hiatus while I finish the edits to my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, and so I’ve asked guest poster Darlene Lopez to tell us about her marriage box–and how it changed the way she saw her relationship.
When I got married 13 years ago we were given a beautiful wooden box with this poem, Marriage Box, written in it.
This box truly has been an inspiration to me in my marriage. Marriage truly is like an empty box. Many people get married for all the wrong reasons and have an abundant of expectations when they get married, I was one of them. I thought marriage was going to be filled with all sorts of companionship, sex, love, romance, intimacy, prayer, Bible studies, understanding, deep friendship and love. Boy, was I wrong.
I found out that marriage truly is empty unless you are infusing into it daily.
The truth is marriage at the start is in fact like an empty box. There really is nothing in it at the beginning. All the things you look for in marriage is really what is in the other person and it is up to both of you to infuse those things into your marriage lest it become an empty box. You can not day after day take out of your box if you don’t put something in it to withdrawal from. It reminds of a bank account. You can not keep spending and withdrawing money from your bank account if you have not deposited any money into it. If you attempt to do so, you will find your account over drawn and eventually the account will need to be closed because you were irresponsible and unable to maintain it.Early on in my marriage I would complain about my husband not being romantic enough, affectionate enough, serving enough, loving enough, not spiritual enough etc.
I remember being reminded daily as I saw the wooden box sit on our bedroom dresser, that marriage was like an empty box. As I complained about how “empty” my marriage felt and how lonely I felt, God showed me that it was because I was withdrawing more than I had deposited. I was in the “negative” so to speak.
I remember calling my husband during the day frustrated and overwhelmed with homeschooling and housework. I’d want him to drop all he was doing to pray with me, I had no consideration that he was working nor did I care that he didn’t need the added stress. To top it off when he would get home, dinner wouldn’t be ready, I’d have him make dinner because after all I had been with 5 children all day. I wanted him to rub my feet while I relaxed, I was very selfish always wanting to be served, even sex became all about me and my needs. I was taking so much out our marriage box and would rarely deposit anything in it. If I did manage to make a deposit I was sure to take out my portion before my husband took out a with-drawl.
I would daily look at that box and it would serve as a reminder to daily pour into my marriage.When I would take out, there was a sense of entitlement, after all I had infused whatever I took out into my marriage so I had every right to take out my fair share.
I remember keeping a running tab and account on how much my husband was infusing and putting it.
It was terrible. Can you imagine the kind of wife my husband had to endure? Just thinking about how I behaved makes me sick.I remember if he wanted to be intimate sexually, I would check our marriage box to see if he had infused romance lately and it had to be in the form that I approved. If he didn’t read or pray with me, then he had no right to to tell me how to behave spiritually. If he didn’t listen to me then I wouldn’t listen to him.
Our marriage became this you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back kind of love. The only problem, I was so quick to point out when he wasn’t scratching my back and therefore I would withhold scratching his.
How horrible to live this way. I was so judgmental, always pointing out his faults/failures as a man and leader of our home. We both were miserable.
I knew the scriptures, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love thy neighbor as thy self.
You see, It was not a love issue for me, I loved my husband. I loved him the same way and as much as he loved me.
Until one day, I was reading and the words of Jesus to His disciples really penetrated my heart so deep. They were the words in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
I was hit with the pondering truth of the love of Jesus.
Jesus was calling me to a different kind of love, a gospel kind of love. If I was going to love my husband the way Jesus said to, then I would need to think about how he loved me.
This led me to the cross. The cross is where love was demonstrated and ultimately on display for all to see. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Scarcely, would one die for a righteous man but Jesus laid his life down willingly for the joy that was set before him.
He showed us what love is. He loves without condition, without reservation, and without wanting anything in return. His love is unconditional. This is gospel centered love.
Jesus love isn’t a if you do this or that then I will love you, but rather nothing can separate us from the love of God neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What a glorious love indeed. I remember after reading and thinking about the way Jesus loved me the next question was this, “Is this enough for me?” Was the way Jesus loved me enough to compel me to love my husband the same way, or would I continue to love my way, the way I had been, the if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back kind of way? Was Jesus enough for me?
This is what it boils down to in marriage, it isn’t about putting in–in order to take out. It isn’t about serving to be served, loving to be loved, nor giving to get.
It’s about sacrificially laying down your life, saying my life is yours.
Marriage represents Christ and the Church, we wives represent the bride of Christ to an unsaved world. Therefore, the way we love our husbands shows the world our love to Christ.
The gospel in marriage changes our attitudes from a serve me attitude to a glorify God and love my spouse attitude.
The gospel is enough and until Jesus satisfies you, you will continue to love selfishly.
Darlene Lopez I am a wife of 13 years, mother to 5 (including a set of twins), keeper of my home but most of all I am a blood bought saint. By the grace of God I am raising a generation of future homemakers and men. I am passionate about herbalism/natural living and love to inspire and motivate other homemakers to love their husbands and chidlren. I am learning that I am more sinful than I ever knew yet more loved than I ever imagined. You can read more about my journey at http://homemakingforrealwomen.blogspot.com/.
Now it’s your turn! What marriage thoughts do you have for us? Just enter the URL of your marriage post in the linky below!