If I have learned anything as a newlywed, it is that my husband brings out the worst in me. It is not, however, in the ways that you might think. My husband tells me when I'm not loving people well. He tells me when I'm being impatient and unkind. He draws attention to the exposed sins in my life that were once not in my sight. My husband speaks of the worst in me so that I can learn how to be my best, or rather, to make me more like Christ.
Marriage is hard in the sanctification component but absolutely beautiful in the fruit. It has taught me deeply important truths, even in such a short amount of time.
1. Marriage is About Others
As a newlywed, it’s easy to only spend time with my spouse, especially since everything is still so exciting and fresh. The Lord has kindly shown me, though, that people need us and we need people. We need people speaking into our lives and our marriage. We need people to celebrate with and mourn with us. And people need this from us as well.
My husband and I have been through specific trials and sufferings so that we can walk with others through suffering. We are called to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and we can only do this if we are in community with others in a way that knows their burdens! Open your home. Invite people into your life. Let them into the mess.
2. Marriage is About the Church
My husband and I only have a community to grow with because of the local church, where we can join together and commune with fellow believers. I have learned in specific ways that the local church is where you will foster any growth in your marriage.
First, you must get involved and serve in the local church. Sacrificially serving my local church has taught me how to sacrifice in marriage, whether through meeting with other women in the church, fulfilling the needs of our community group, or wrangling kiddos in our kid’s ministry.
The local church is also where I have been and continue to be refreshed by the means of grace God has given us, such as the Lord’s Supper and hearing the Word preached and taught. Corporate worship aids in preparing my heart to be open to where God wants to grow me as a wife.
And finally, being around older, wiser couples who model marriage has been one of the biggest blessings to us. We have been graciously provided such guides in every new stage of life.
3. Marriage is About Christ
Most importantly, I’ve learned that our marriage reflects Christ, no matter how far we are into marriage. When I said, “I do,” I entered into a covenant with my husband, a reflection of the covenant that God made with his people and the covenant that God is in with the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 105:8 says, “He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations.” God doesn’t forget us. He doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t leave us. When I remember this, I remember the seriousness of my commitment to my husband. Marriage is hard. It was hard the first week we were married. But when I remember the constant grace, mercy, and never-ending forgiveness that the Lord gives me, even when I am at my worst, I can ask the Lord for this same heart toward my husband, and he gives me the power and wisdom to do so.
Ephesians 5 says that husbands and wives submit to one another just as the church submits to Christ. Being a newlywed doesn’t mean that you are exempt from this commandment. This is no trial period or “honeymoon stage.”
No matter if you’ve been married one day or ten thousand days, you reflect Christ and his glorious splendor. You reflect the God who came in the form of a human, died for our sins, and rose to leave us with an empty tomb and a present Spirit, equipping us to be the wives and husbands he calls us to be.