I am far from perfect and absolutely know this fact to be true. I make mistakes all the time and truly consider myself to be a work in progress. I am often comforted by Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” I love this passage and quote it to myself and others often. I just wish the work wasn’t so painful and SLOW! But some of the most important areas of our lives take the most time to become the masterpiece God intends them to be.
One of the areas I sometimes feel the learning is most slow is in the area of my marriage. I have been married for almost 7 years and am still learning what it means to be married, how to be married and how to love the woman I married. Kim must feel she married a slow learner when it comes to that last one. Learning to love, while a life-long experience, is oftentimes complicated.
You see when we were first married the best way to love my wife was by giving her my undivided attention. She loved time. And of course she also loved my kisses and kind words as well. But after marriage and the birth of two kids her needs changed and the way she desired to be loved did as well. While she still appreciates my kindness, affection and time, more than any of these, she needs my help. Now she feels most loved in those moments when I vacuum the floor or do the dishes. She feels adored when I do a load of laundry or trim the shrubs.
Navigating Kim’s heart change has not always been easy. I failed to see this change coming and didn’t adjust to it with the rapidity I should have. I still desire to love Kim by spending quality time with her. This is in my “wheelhouse” and more natural for me because it is the way I enjoy receiving love myself. However, I have had to learn I now love her best when I help her with the myriad of tasks a mother of toddlers is bombarded with everyday. So I must be intentional about the way I change my habits and become sensitive to her heart in order to continue expressing my love well.
Most men are not going to anticipate the changes of a woman’s heart through the seasons of marriage as they perhaps should. Nor are most going to navigate the waters of this change with the seamanship of an experienced captain! We are all learning on the job. So with that in mind I am going to offer my “two cents” in hopes that my experience might aid a fellow traveler and his wife.
Navigating the Waters of Marriage Requires:
- Faith — If you think you can do this job on your own you are are already in trouble. Jesus literally calmed the winds and waves so believe and trust Him to be the true captain of your ship as you and your spouse navigate the choppy waters certain to enter every marriage.
- Humility — We need to give one another a break! Circumstances and people change. If you think you have your spouse figured out you may be right TODAY but just wait…tomorrow is on the way!
- Confession — Faith and humility usually lead to a confession of some kind and it is likely you need a little of this in your marriage right about now. If you haven’t been attentive to your wife’s changing needs or good at helping your husband understand your changing needs then confess. Admit you haven’t been doing your best to love your spouse in the you should.
- Commitment — Faith, humility and confession are great but serve little purpose without a genuine commitment to life change. Begin to do the hard work of changing the way you think, speak and act. Remember, it is God who puts the will in your heart to do good as well as the ability to do that good (Phil 2:13).
- Patience — Rome wasn’t built in a day and great marriage isn’t either. You are both individually a work in progress and so is your marriage. If two people are seeking God and committed to the hard work of building a healthy marriage they can be sure of their future together. Such a masterpiece takes time!
God has got this! He simply wants you to play your part in cooperating with the work He is about the business of doing in your life and marriage! Be encouraged! God wants your marriage to be a masterpiece more than even you!
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