Co-host: Ebie Hepworth
Marriage is different for everyone, so please don’t feel pressured to compare your story and your relationship to someone else’s. Let God write your story and trust Him as He leads you in and towards peace with your relationship.
Many times we have extravagant expectations for our marriage and unless we surrender those expectations to God, we can come up against disappointment, confusion, and manipulation. We should absolutely have faith that God will bless us abundantly within our marriage, but in that, we should also have trust that He will meet our extravagant expectations- not our significant other. By surrendering our relationship to Him, He is in control and His will be done rather than our will.
If you have ever identified as a master manipulator- especially in the context of intimate relationship- then it’s important to fully reset your heart and mind. For Anjel and Ebie, this meant taking an extended time off of dating; for one year, we fully pressed into the awkwardness of being single by making some extreme changes. For us, those changes included deleting every guy’s number in our phones, not being alone with guys, and bringing everything that we would have brought to a guy, to Jesus. It was not always easy- especially at first. But by inviting Jesus into our lives and making Him as real as a person sitting next to us, we were able to fully invest our brokenness, dreams, curiosities, and thoughts into Him.
When you begin to be in an intimate relationship with Jesus, He begins to heal you in the ways that only He can. You’re brought from false hope to fullness and the desire that you once had to control becomes a desire to surrender and listen for His voice of truth.
When marriage encounters adversity, you can put your stock in humility or pride; one will lead to unity and the other will lead to isolation. Being humble means to be submissive to God and being submissive to God means to respect and honor what He is doing through your marriage. Regardless of the circumstances that you might find yourself up again, the day you made your vows, God, too, was in the covenant. He had declared your marriage holy. Choosing humility and submission in your marriage may be as simple as acknowledging that God is the ruler of your marriage. Practically, it can look like letting your husband speak without interrupting him because you simply respect who God is. Through that one act of submission, you’ve died of yourself and have partnered with God’s purpose for your marriage.
Understanding and respecting your holy covenant requires you and your partner to deal with any and all brokenness residing in your hearts. It may feel messy and inconvenient and embarrassing, but God allows healing to happen when you choose unity over the anger in being misunderstood. God will redeem the emotions and bitterness and exhaustion you’re up against.
Being misunderstood is something that must be dealt with by God. It’s finding that real and private holy place with The Lord where you simply ask him to show you the way. Then, you can process with your partner what God is showing you.
When you don’t intimately know God and you don’t let Him intimately know you, you can’t know love, because God is love. It’s impossible to choose love and have it be the true core of your relationship with God. And when you feel like you’re at your wit’s end and you have no strategy or energy or hope to find love again with your partner, simply choose them. Choose them over yourself; choose to let them speak without interrupting them, choose to serve them rather than serving yourself, choose to trust them when you’re scared. Be brave enough to sit in your brokenness with God and you will see that by His grace you are experiencing the breakthrough that you can then lavish onto your partner.
Your mind and your heart is the environment that your actions will flow from. You have to nourish and tend to the garden of your heart if you want your actions to express health and abundance.
When marriage looks different than you imagined, remember that we- as Christians- do not live by our feelings. Bring your discouragement, frustrations, and questions to God and watch as he brings breakthrough.
Culture trains us to have very specific expectations and standards of passion and relationship. Most of the time, relationships are a lot less sexy and passionate than we see them portrayed in culture. This is OKAY and honestly- it’s a good thing that your relationship doesn’t mirror culture- that’s not how we are meant to live. Instead, weigh your relationship by the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.