There was a four letter word that I really didn’t want to say on my wedding day. It was a word that I felt really didn’t need to be in my vows. After all, I was a woman of the 90’s, independent, opinionated and this was a marriage of mutual respect and equality. Why would I need to say the word, OBEY? My family and friends can attest to the fact that when I did say the word in my vows, I spoke it with a slight pause and smirk rising to my natural sarcastic ways. However, if there is any word that has had the most meaning in my marriage it has been that four letter word.
I am getting ready to celebrate 16 years of marriage and while that is a long time to some couples, it is just a drop in the bucket for others. I have been thinking a lot about marriages. It seems like I hear more and more stories of marriages that fall apart. The reaction that people have is usually the same as when you hear of a death. It’s painful and the question is always, “why?”
As an outsider to a couple’s marriage you can never judge why some couples stay together and some fall apart. There are always two sides to every story and to every marriage. It’s painful to watch the repercussions of divorce especially when children are involved. My own marriage cannot be compared to anyone else’s. We each have our own stories and we relate in our marriages very differently. However, I have to say that my marriage is strong after 16 years because of that one little word that brought me much contention on my wedding day.
I have learned to love, honor and OBEY my husband because God has taught me the beauty behind the word not the action or the command it entails. I realized early on in my marriage that there is no score card or 50/ 50 equality. Marriage is not “I give and you give back”. Marriage is a complete selfless act that tests your character, your pride and defines your story in life. There have been times throughout my marriage that I have started to take score. I started to realize what I wasn’t getting in return and kept tallying up the results. I kept getting more unhappy and bitter, not realizing that I was making my marriage only about me. However, God showed me that marriage is really a reflection of Jesus Christ and his love for me.
I live in obedience to God and his word because I love HIM. I don’t tally the results in my relationship with God, so why would I do it in my marriage? Now the difference is I am not married to God and my husband is not perfect but God is perfect and his love for me is never ending. I believe with God all things are possible because he promises this in his word. God knows the struggles we face and He knows both sides of each of our stories even in our marriages. When we each submit our will, our selfish ambition and our own desires there is love. However, the biggest lesson I have learned is my husband cannot love me enough to make me happy in my marriage. That only comes from God.
Now I realize that this is my story and there are so many marriages that survive and die and God is the only one who truly understands what’s behind each decision. I also know God’s power of forgiveness and grace in marriage when we fully submit our needs to Him. I don’t have a perfect marriage and I don’t know anyone that does. I am just grateful for my marriage and for learning the valuable lesson in a four letter word. Saying the word obey in my vows and living it out hasn’t made me less of a person or somehow unequal with my husband. Instead, it has made me realize what love really is and what a blessing marriage can be in my life!