Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I’m Letting My Husband Off the Newlywed Hook

In life there are beautiful friendships that take time and energy to develop. And then there are friendships that are instant, electric and for life. Christina is one of those friends for me. Her writing and vulnerability will make you feel like you're chatting in her living with room a cup of tea in hand. I know, because I've been there. -JM

The newlywed phase is a beautiful thing. 

Sparks, romance, and hundreds of romantic-comedy worthy moments strung together to make up the first few years of marriage. There’s breakfasts in bed, always sharing the love seat, fetching drinks and other desired objects, and of course, cuddling. This is my newlywed snapshot. Maybe it’s yours, too. Maybe it’s not, but regardless of what it looks like, all marriages start out in their own snapshot of what love is all about. 

But then what?

Here it comes…

The slow (or not so slow) waning of flame, fizzle of oomph, and the like. In other words, time snuffs out the brand new, romance-driven, enticing day to day stimulation of being newlyweds. This is where I currently find myself: 3 years and 1 baby into my marriage and seemingly losing steam. 

I’ll be honest with you. I blamed it on him. I was convinced he wasn’t as interested in me, bored, getting lazy, seeing me as just another person in his day to day life. I whined about it. I complained I wasn’t getting enough attention and feeling loved. 

You see, he just wasn’t making a big enough fuss about me anymore.
Then God did something awesome. 

In so many ways, after however many silly fights, He showed me the whimsical idea of marriage I’d built up for myself was flawed, destructive, and littered with selfishness. It wasn’t love at all. 
I was expecting my husband to entertain my emotions with new and interesting behaviors, to win me over day after day with his chivalry and adoration. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? My quick fix: sell myself more effectively. This quickly lead to a roller coaster of highs and lows and ultimately dissatisfaction. 

Another loving intervention: "Your idea is flawed, but my idea is perfect. Let go of your culture-charged, emotion-driven ideas and let me show you something amazing." Our model for love in marriage (in any relationship, really!) is Christ.

Fully knowing our hearts and flaws, He gave himself up, out of love, so that we might have freedom from our sinful hearts and stand before the Father restored and redeemed. 

Marriage is the perfect relationship to grow more like Christ. (Click to tweet!) As we come to know each other intimately, forgiving each other’s sins, and loving each other without strings attached, we can stand before each other fully known, completely flawed, and madly in love. Suddenly my romantic ideas looked more like shadows of an incredible love story.

God’s love story for me.

Timothy Keller wrote in, The Meaning of Marriage:
“Romance, sex, laughter, and plain fun are the by-products of this process of sanctification, refinement, glorification. Those things are important, but they can’t keep a marriage going through years and years of ordinary life. What keeps the marriage going is your commitment to your spouse’s holiness. You’re committed to his or her beauty. You’re committed to his greatness and perfection. You’re committed to her honesty and passion for the things of God. That’s your job as a spouse."

I lost sight of this. 

I forgot that this thing called marriage was about encouraging, loving, and walking through the process of becoming more like Christ. I let my focus fall from the incredible leader and father God was currently molding my husband to be, to the ways he was failing to serve my emotions. I was missing out on seeing the very thing that made me fall in love with him come to light. I was settling for a cheap version of romance when God (and my husband!) had something much greater in mind. 

Maybe you are, too.

So, I am letting my husband off the newlywed hook. 

I am letting myself off the newlywed hook.  I am abandoning my silly ideas of love and romance, my selfishness, my need to be made much of, and my attempts to present my husband with a flawless bride. 

I am committing myself to truly loving and knowing my husband as he grows into what God has for him. I am embracing the freedom in letting my husband see who I am and who I am becoming with the incredibly romantic knowledge that God has written our love story and it’s better than I ever imagined. 

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Written by Christina Nunez, wife, mother, writer and best friend. 
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Photos via Lukabella & Kandis Howell Photography
^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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