I may not have kids of my own, but I have enough nieces, nephews, friends, and children from the ministries I’m involved in to know a thing or two about raising them!
One thing I know is that children are fragile when they’re first born, and as they grow, they are supposed to get stronger. Children at a young age need constant attention so that they don’t hurt themselves, and so that they can receive the nourishment they need to survive.
I couldn’t help but thinking that marriage is the same way.
When you first get married, you need to establish boundaries. You need to establish new rules. The people around you depend on you, as the husband of wife, to create the atmosphere for how you two interact with each other. And you need to be careful about who (and what) you let into your marriage, especially in the beginning, but as you continue to mature together.
People will try to give you unsolicited advice about how to treat your spouse. But you know. You may not be an expert, but you are now the closest person to your spouse. The newlywed stage is a learning process. You will learn your spouse’s favorite color. You will learn how your spouse likes his steak. You will learn your spouse’s schedule, and what keeps him calm. And eventually, the people giving you unsolicited advice will be asking you how to interact with your spouse.
Our marriage is two and a half years old, and from the very beginning, we’ve had to give our marriage constant attention. We’ve had to adjust our lives to the new schedule, and we’ve had to learn new routines to make our marriage work. We’ve had moments that make us roll our eyes because of how ridiculous they are, but we’ve also had moments that work so well, they’re like watching a child walk or hearing her say her first words.
But my absolute favorite part of marriage now is when people ask me questions about my spouse, and I actually know the answers! Like, “Does he like shrimp?”, or “Do you think he’d be up for this or that?”
I also want to note that marriage requires a lot of grace, just like it requires grace to parent a child. We may think that the mistakes we make now will affect the rest of our lives, that if we mess up in the beginning of our marriage, we can never have hope again. But that is not true. Sure, our mistakes have consequences, but there is grace. I’m not the same person I was when I got married. There were times I said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing, and I know it hurt my husband. And there were times he said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing, and it hurt me. But there’s grace. Thank God for His grace! So don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out right from the beginning. Trust in God’s grace to sustain you through it all.
How much attention do you give to your marriage? Is your marriage high on your priority list? Like a child requires constant attention and a change of schedule, you need to make time for your marriage, and make time for the man or woman who matters most to you. Then, as you both grow, you will see your marriage grow, and you will be amazed as the work you put into your marriage early will produce fruit.