We are 6 months into The Year of Romance! I hope that you have been inspired, encouraged or at least thought about your marriage a little more as a result of these posts. I want to talk about how your spirituality can, and should, and can and should NOT influence your marriage.
When we got married I was 18 and he was 20. He was raised as many children in America have been the last 40 years. Someone usually picked the kids up to take them to church and drop them off. It wasn't a family thing. He was raised Baptist. I was raised Catholic. My family said rosary together every Sunday afternoon, his family was scattered all over creation on Sunday afternoon. My family prayed together every morning at least when I was younger, and in the evening, again when I was younger. Work, college and life crowded that out over time, but the pattern for prayer and reverance for God, reverance for the sanctity of life and marriage had been set for me. We had many differences spiritually, and we had no clue at that time in our life how necessary depending on God is to have a rich and successful marriage.
Life went on for us regardless of what we knew to depend on. I can't say for him, but for me the hole in my soul and my heart was growing and growing. Mercifully, over a period of years as I sought to draw near to God, He was oh so faithful to meet me and give me refreshing. It was 10 years into our marriage. I fell in love with God, with His Word and I just was so giddy to have figured out what was missing and at first I wanted to be able to share it with him, I wanted to share it with everyone! In time I learned that everyone's pace is different and just like it would never have worked for me for someone to try to explain it, I couldn't expect to do that either. It would be plenty enough for me to let God work in me and help me be the best I could be in every area of my life. Ok, to be honest, I didn't learn it that nicely or with that much wisdom all at once. It was more (like everything else I seem to learn) a process. A process filled with many trials and errors! But, let's not dwell! :)
Its been 15 years now since I came to understand how believing in Christ gives me acces to the Father, a rejuvenated spirit, and allows the Holy Spirit to come and live inside me and teach me how to live a way that is pleasing to Our Father. I would say that the first 3 years we probably only had 3 conversation that were of a spiritual nature, that were positve. By that I mean, both parties were contributing and receptive. The pace gradually increased over the next 4 years. And in the last 8 years it has grown by leaps and bounds. It did not happen because of anything I said. Whatever happened was because God is just as able to reach Jerry as He was able to reach me. We read the Bible together sometimes (if he initiates it), we are even starting to take baby steps in prayer together. We talk about prayer fairly often, and the goodness of God and how He looks out for and cares for us also. These are things many of my regular commentors may do regularly, but for us, it is complete transformation. We do not get into in depth conversations. That's just not the sort of people we are.
Something I am only the last very few years learning, is that everyone has different ways of experiencing God and that each of our faith is not going to look the same. My husband loves to be outdoors, whether it is luring birds to the yard, fishing or watering his latest plant project. I know it is a way that he experiences the wonder of our Creator. When he goes to work, especially when he is doing extra duty details or working on his college, things to help provide at a higher level for our family, it's a sacred thing to him. Something that he knows is pleasing to God. I have my ways to experience God, some are the same. Some are different. The point is, nowdays, we know that our marriage is not complete with The Cornerstone. We don't go about life in the fog we got married in. We go about life secure that God is watching over us, living is us, and caring for us. It makes our marriage complete in a way we could never let go of.
We don't judge each other, but we do encourage and exhort each other. We love that God has a sense of humor, because it is SOOO obvious He must! We are grateful that He is sovereign and long suffering, merciful and just outrageously good to us and people everywhere!
I guess in closing this post, I want to say that I spent too much of my early days of faith "worried" (there's just no other word for it! I worried, its a shame to admit!) about the differences between us spiritually. I was so wrong, and so unintentionally arrogant in my thought process, it is a wonder and a mercy of God that we made it during that time in our lives together. I do not need to spend time concerned about where my husband is spiritually, I need to spend time doing my part with God everyday. As I do that, I make room for God to work and my husband to have his own rich experiences in faith. He deserves the same freedom I have had. If he had ever focused on me, the way I focused on him, we would never have made it. I would have had a fit! As Christians, we do a lot of damage when we try to structure our loved ones spiritual lives. Hands off! If God in heaven desires free will for us, who are we to know better? Just be, just love! Just trust!
Now, go and romance your marriage, romance your husband, and maybe start with romancing your God in Heaven! You might find that you have lots more to offer if you do it in that order! Works for me!
Oh, P.S. Please visit some of the other women who are contributing. They are full of love, wit and wisdom! If you are interested in contributing your own, click here.