Elana and I have been married for 3 months tomorrow. Here’s some of the big lessons I’m learning early on. Maybe these will encourage you too
1) Tim Keller on Selfishness:
“In Western culture today, you decide to get married because you feel an attraction to the other person. You think he or she is wonderful. But a year or two later – or, just as often, a month or two – three things usually happen. First, you begin to find out how selfish this wonderful person is. Second, you discover that the wonderful person has been going through a similar experience and he or she begins to tell you how selfish you are. And third, though you acknowledge it in part, you concede that your spouse’s selfishness is more problematic than your own. This is especially true if you feel that you’ve had a hard life and have experienced a lot of hurt. You say silently, ‘Ok, I shouldn’t do that – but you don’t understand me.’ The woundedness makes us minimize our own selfishness. And that’s the point at which many married couples arrive after a relatively brief period of time.”
If each spouse says to the other, “I will treat my selfishness as the main problem in the marriage,” you have the prospect for great things.
This has been so much bigger than just marriage. Killing selfishness has been changing all of my relationships.
2) Hardship is a great opportunity to redefine where we find our identity.
If you’ve read much of what I’ve written here, it’ll be no surprise to read that I am extremely prone to finding my value in people’s opinions. When circumstances make it hard to do that, there’s plenty of motivation to search elsewhere.
Horizontal identity, rooted in circumstances or people, is flimsy and ultimately unsatisfying.
C.S Lewis – “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.”
3) Arguments about minor circumstances often expose deeper issues. Focus on the deeper stuff.
Big reactions to “little” things almost always means there’s something else going on. I’ve been realising a lot about myself my paying attention to how big or little I react to things.
4) Don’t expect anyone to read my mind. Learn to speak up.
I am prone to being super passive. I used to think that it was loving to constantly let everyone walk all over me, but I’m learning how unhealthy that can be.
Communication can be difficult, but it’s important. It’s worth having a fight to make sure everyone is understood.
5) Be Proactive not reactive.
It’s been easy for me to wait till issues come up rather than intentionally having conversations before they do.
I’m also learning that timing is vital. Bringing an issue up at the right time makes a world of difference. Not bringing an issue up can be just as bad as bringing it up at a terrible moment.
6) Marriage is harder and better than I thought (This is basically just more of point 1)
Committing to a lifelong process of dying to myself has been harder than I expected (this probably shouldn’t be surprising)
Loving like Jesus, requires self-sacrifice. Funnily enough, God actually designed us to find our greatest joy in this sacrifice.
Focusing less on ourselves is where we can find God.
Here’s a really good article if you’re keen for more: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/your-marriage-is-not-about-you