This Marriage is From the Lord

When my husband posted in his FB wall that his marriage with me is from The Lord, it was a confession and affirmation of God’s love for him and for me, for bringing us together and keeping us together in marriage. Our marriage story is one that’s not free from blemishes, but one that speaks of redemption and grace.

When we let God write our love story, He orchestrates everything in the same way that Abraham’s servant, Eliezer has found Rebekah for Isaac. No one can refute what God has in store for us. When it is His purpose, no one can oppose.  When we were on our seats last Sunday, listening to the pastor’s sermon about the story of Isaac and Rebekah (our church is on a preaching series, in time for the Love month, entitled ” I’ts NOT that complicated “), I looked at my husband and remember how our fateful debate encounter in our college years led us to a relationship and marriage. We still find ourselves in “passionate arguments” but then I remember that when God brought Jones to me, and I was given to him as his bride, we have dedicated the union to the Lord. Like how Laban and Bethuel replied,

“This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.” (Genesis 24:50-51)

Out of all the men in the universe,  He has a certain Jones for me. And I have to be reminded of that everyday, especially when the “loving” part doesn’t come easy as the years roll by. God has loved me deeply (Malachi1:2a) and is patient with me. In the same way that I need to be patient with my husband and he, with me. Patient love requires me to wait upon the Lord in the areas where I seemed to jump at any  opportunity to express my own emotions. How do we do that? We pray so we can subject our will to God’s will. We can capture our thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. And clearly, He will direct all our steps. Whatever He wills, He makes it happen.

What if there was opposition from the very start? Or challenges along the way?  Sometimes it is the price we have to pay for making the wrong decisions. The freedom of choice is a precious gift given by God that sets us apart from all of his creation. When we listen more to ourselves and go before God, we face bad consequences of our actions. But then, in His all-merciful nature, he calls us back to him and be restored to Him so he can make right what we made bad and can turn anything that seemed bad into good for His glory. I have seen His hand moved mightily in our marriage. This nature of God always amazes me for if I have chosen to dwell on my selfish self, I will choose to have others’ faults nailed on the cross rather than my own. Why , it’s so easy to look at the speck in my spouse’s eye!!!

You could be one of those who “liked”( in FB  parlance) my husband’s one-liner post but it was a bold statement that I love from him. It was comforting and reassuring to hear it from my husband, after 14 years of being married – not his ” I love you” for sometimes the utterance can be out of an emotional rush – but his declaration that this marriage is from The Lord and it will last a lifetime as He has directed. And so I speak boldly of the same.

Although Isaac and Rebekah’s story is about waiting (patiently!) upon the Lord for that someone whom God has set apart for you in marriage, married couples are also reminded by this story of God’s covenant with us , always speaking of us, His church as His radiant bride.It is a faithful reminder that God sees all the hurts, pains and joys in each moment of our lives. He doesn’t give up on us, nor in our marriage. If yours has been written on your own and you are striving to seek a happy ending to it, then It is time to let go of that pen and recommit your marriage to the Author, the One who writes from cover to cover, the One who is the beginning and the end. With every stroke, God will guide you as He unfolds another chapter in your life and in your marriage. Like what He is doing with mine.

Image

“God wrote your love story. Let Him read it to you.” (photo via web)

Badge of Service

Happy New Year!

In my recent post, I have declared that is going to be year of rejoicing knowing that God’s plans for me and my family are for good, they give us hope and a future, that He is before all things and He holds things together for His greater glory and purpose!

We started the year by joining in our local church’s annual weeklong prayer and fasting. During that week, I prayed ( among others)  that I be more loving in my earthly relationships – starting off with my husband. More so that I am in a new season as a stay-at-home mom, managing and keeping house, and homeschooling our children, it is easy to “feel” that I am doing most of the work at home and the enemy will feed my selfish ego telling me that I need more than I am entitled to. Oh, what a selfish attitude! That is why I prayed that I will be doing things borne out of love ,not of responsibility. For being a faithful steward also means being diligent in doing things, working not for men, but for the Lord.

It is true that the word of God searches your deepest thoughts and strikes through our hearts. It has worked that way for me – all the time. Just this morning, i was reading the following verses ,

Also, teach the older women to live the way those who serve the Lord should live. They should not go around saying bad things about others or be in the habit of drinking too much. They should teach what is good. By doing this they will teach the younger women to love their husbands and children.  They will teach them to be wise and pure, to take care of their homes, to be kind, and to be willing to serve their husbands. Then no one will be able to criticize the teaching God gave us.” – Titus 2:3-5(Easy-to-Read Version)

“..and willing to serve their husbands”! I wrote this in bold letter because it is as if the Lord is echoing it back and forth to my ears.:) He is telling me that all day long, when I thought I start and end the day with “service”, it is not because of the responsibility that He has placed on me as a wife and a mother, but it is because He has given me that gift to be a “living letter”, a message seen in a lifestyle, not only for my husband and children to see but for all of God’s people to see a reflection of His goodness, faithfulness and grace that is working in me – day in and day out! What a joy to be a “serving wife”!

When the temptation to not serve willingly or delightfully is strong, I will remember God’s truths in my life. Why he made me a woman, what I am capable of doing, and what I need most in this life is Him – His grace that sustains me, His love that makes me love others unconditionally, His burden that lightens my own, His act of service shown when he washed His disciples’ feet.

In marriage, I will remember that my willingness to serve my husband is the same as serving the Lord. I read once, that the danger of the Idolatry of Equality is slowly seeping in our marriages because of what the world offers us. I will choose to listen to what God says than what the enemy says – the one who accuses, feeding all lies,  who does nothing but that, day in and day out!

If you are a wife reading this, I am praying with you that God will breathe a fresh air into your life and in your marriage. May that badge of service that you wear not only stay there as a “permanent decoration” ( as what the Presidential Badge of Service suggests), a lifeless memorial of all the acts of service that you have done and will continue to do, but one that is full of life because of the power of  the living God that is in you! Serve HIM!

Image

                                                                           (photo via wordpress)

What is Your Marriage Story?

It is heartwarming to look at the stats of your blog occasionally. For my part, I get a glimpse of what people have been thinking about based on the “most searched” topics that I have posted. Recently, my top topic is about marriage. Just right as I have been longing to write something about this next story. Something not so mushy – forget about the “perfect one” based on human standards.

Let me introduce you to Hosea – a prophet in the past during the reigns of great kings of Judah and Israel. When the Lord instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute, it was meant to illustrate the waywardness of Israel at that time. No matter how difficult the situation might be – he could’ve been an object of mockery and the subject of the ladies’ gossip ( as we do have in modern times), he did marry her as the Lord said so.

No matter how joyful or painful the situation is, every marriage tells us a story. Scary thought, I learned, but so true. To some, it might not be a good start (like this Hosea-Gomer love story), or bad things happen along the way, but in the end, the same God who restores His people back to Him can also redeem a broken marriage. Not an easy thing to do when God tells you to bring back the unfaithful one as He tells Hosea to “buy-back” Gomer but when we think of our own unfaithfulness and the price that God paid by giving His son, Jesus Christ – flesh and blood – for our own redemption, we know that no matter how messy or broken can that be, as long as there is a ray of hope, He can redeem and repair your marriage. Or,  when the mending  does not happen not because of our own doing, we ask – What’s to lose? to yield ? or to gain? We may bear the scars of the past, or might not be able to go back to our “Hosea” as Gomer did, but God is ready to receive us with arms wide open, if only we restore our relationship with Him. Amazing grace, isn’t it?

As flawed individuals, i see ours as an imperfect marriage story, but one that our good Lord has written perfectly to accomplish His purpose.  Yes, we have laughed and enjoyed successes together, but we have also gone through the darkest Valley of Trouble, but with each tear and prayer, He has transformed it into a Gateway of Hope.  I pray that may each marriage be a powerful testimony where promises are kept and vows are fulfilled – much the same way that God keeps His covenant relationship with us.

I pray not only for happy endings but joyful marriages. To those who might not be able to experience it here on earth, take heart, you have one for eternity. God loves you and will never break His covenant with you.

Image

photo via scotlandablaze.com

Tipping Point of Marriage

The top 10 everyday niggles and passion-killers:

1. Weight gain/lack of exercise, 13 per cent

2. Money & Spend thriftiness, 11 per cent

3. Anti-social working hours, 10 per cent

4. Hygiene issues (personal cleanliness), 9 per cent

5. In-Laws/extended family – too much/too little, 9 per cent

6. Lack of romance (sex, treats etc.), 8 per cent

7. Alcohol – drinking too much,7 per cent

8. Snoring & anti-social bedtime habits, 6 per cent

9. Lapsed fashion-Same old underwear/clothes, 4 per cent

10. Bathroom habits – Stray nail cuttings etc…, 4 per cent

Read Entire Story here from Reuters

Antsy people! I smiled at the irony of the words – human beings described as insects. But if surveys are that reliable, this one tops the list of our  “antsiness”.   If we are to believe Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point arguments , then we can say the top 10 listed above are really little things that annoy us day by day and kaboom! before we know it, they have zapped the life out of our marriages!

Tipping point in marriages at the 36th month is not an entirely new idea, if you ask me.  We always have that “honeymoon” period of 3 years (or 36 months) – remember your 1st job? The excitement you had in the first several months then you realize you weren’t fit for the job after your 3rd yr with the same company (so off you hopped to another one)?   The adrenaline rush driving a brand-new car then realizing you need another one after it’s 3rd yr anniversary?  Or in old-school business terms – getting your ROI (payback period) after 3 yrs – when it hits there and it’s not earning, might as well forget it? Well,  that’ s what conventional wisdom matched with quantitative analysis and other scientific measurements will tell you.

For us? well, we’re on our 11th year of marriage and we do not gauge our union by earthly standards.  While it is true that  boredom kills, including marriages, we continue to spice up the romantic feeling –  like saying “I love you” to each other everyday, him treating me to a dinner date, texting love notes , etc,  I have come to accept the fact that I love my spouse with all his imperfections.  To say that requires a perfect God to bless an otherwise imperfect marriage.  36 or 84 months? Nah, it doesn’t matter really.