Marriage. I haven't written a blog post on marriage in years... doesn't it make you wonder? Haha!
I've only been married fifteen years. But, what a journey it has been!
Neither of us were Christians when we married. Well, that didn't last long. If anything will make you seek God, it's a troubled marriage. And ours got into trouble.
When my efforts failed (namely reading every self-help book recommended by Oprah), and EXPENSIVE secular counseling failed (and believe me, I gave it my BEST effort by dutifully drinking several shots of gin before each counseling session so that I would not be afraid to speak my mind), I gave up. And gave it to "God," (whoever He was), and told Him if He was really God, then He was the one who made marriage in the first place, and He was the only one who knew how to fix it, so it was His problem now. And I quit.
And He took over.
Within six weeks, I saw Him at work. I was stunned when I saw things changing, even "repairing." I committed to Him then and there, vowing to do whatever He revealed to me was His way for marriage,and anything else.
He first taught me to SUBMIT to my husband--to forget ME and commit to loving, serving, and supporting my husband. (What? Are you kidding me? This wasn't mentioned by Oprah ANYWHERE? But, too late. I had already promised, and He had cunningly (lovingly) left me with nothing else to try).
He taught me to be a help meet.
He taught me to be a manager of my home.
He taught me to train my children to honor their father, and honor God.
It has been a glorious, happy path--one that has brought me to a place I never dreamed existed (my ideals of marriage before I got married never included what a godly marriage would be like!)
But, there is always something more. Another way to learn, another way to grow. You can be a help meet all day long, until you're help-meeted out, and sometimes that isn't enough. That's not "where it is." You can submit, defer, love, support, until you can't even breathe, let alone smile, and that's not always where it is.
Because I'm a sinful human... married to another sinful human. Sometimes, the ways of God just "bounce" right off our toughened, stubborn flesh.
One of the more recent lessons I had been learning through marriage is that love keeps no record of wrongs. NO. RECORD. I was learning that my husband should have a clean slate every moment he stands before me--and that I should have no memory or lasting repercussions in me of previous "wrongs." I have wiped the slate clean. I am the "eraser." Just as Jesus is for me. Oh... learning to forget all that history and give your husband the gift each moment of a completely clean slate. That is miraculous.
Until you realize you're not Jesus, and you just can't.
I got stuck. I mean, really stuck. My eraser was all rubbed out. My white-out bottle was dry. I had nothing left to work with.
So back to my old standby.
GOD! HELP! This is your "thing." YOU fix it. I can't.
I also prayed my first ever sincere "Hail Mary." Pray for me, for my marriage! I need help and answers!
And the heavens opened, and the answer came.
God revealed to me in a moment of understanding how marriage is His. It is Holy. It is spiritual. It belongs to a realm that is outside my human flesh. It's a covenant and a sacrament.
With my "eraser" scheme, I had often been telling myself internally that I had to "be the bigger person." Forgive, let go, and not expect anything in return.
But now I saw that while heroically trying to be the "bigger person," I had just backed myself into a corner.
God showed me how silly it was for me to worry about being the bigger person (pat myself on the back). He showed me that marriage is bigger than the both of us.
The glorious miracle of the union God made between my husband and I on the day we got married--none of my petty offenses are even relevant compared to that! God let me see how our marriage is a holy reflection of Him, and His Holy Trinity, and a living example of Christ and His bride. My marriage is a place for God to reflect His holiness and perfection despite all of my (and my husband's) imperfections.
The magnitude of it--I saw it all for the first time. And my "huge" offense that I didn't have enough erasers or white out to erase, instantly became irrelevant, and didn't matter any more. The beauty of God's design and plan for marriage shone so bright--His light was my eraser. Oh--there's no trace of anything left of whatever it was I was trying to erase. I'm left with nothing but awe at the gift He has given me--marriage. So beautiful! What a blessed sacrament! What a gift to have in my life, by submitting to my marriage, His continual blessing and presence! At any given moment. NOTHING compares to that. I never knew what a treasure... I just never knew.
And once again, I am awed by Him. And how He loves me. And all He has done for me.
UPDATE: One Year Later, November 22, 2014: I was just shown this beautiful blog post on this same matter, but with a bigger vision, and better understanding of this little glimpse I was trying to explain. She gets it all and drives it home, ladies. Go read it at "Blessed Is She,"Gaining a Perfect Love." Thanks to Kendra Tierney at one of my favorite blogs, Catholic All Year, for posting the link. What a blessing! Love me my blogging sisters for exhortation and uplifting words of wisdom!
Am I surprised He fixed the problem?
Oh, what in the world will He show me next?
Don't be too much of a spoiler... but if you know, you can give me a hint! :-)