Yikes, My last post was eight months ago! It was called “What is Love?” and I was trying to figure out if I was in love. It is so crazy how life seems both exactly the same and radically different. I feel like I wrote that post yesterday. Well, not only am I in love. This is my first post as a married woman….! Yes, most days I still can’t believe it. Neither of us can. One month ago today, “I married my best friend” as they say. I used to roll my eyes when I heard that…but I can’t deny that it’s true.
What happened to me? Well I guess I should ask, What is happening to me? I haven’t been around much lately on here, on any social media really. In fact, after we got married I got even more secluded. It is so hard even venturing on here. Maybe, if you know me or have followed me over the years, you know how much I wrote about dating and wanting to find that “one person” to make my life complete.
For so long, I was obsessed with getting married. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I felt completely inadequate without the label “wife.” I went from relationship to relationship as a young Christian woman. I tried so hard to make every one work. I was either a failure at letting it go on too long; or a failure at not getting it to work. I let my family down (I believed), but especially I let myself down. I was missing out on what was “out there.” I knew if I just kept trying, eventually I could achieve what I believed was my “dream”: to be married. By God’s grace, my rigid thoughts slowed and I started thinking more realistically. I distinctly remember the day I began to entertain the thought: I am just as worthy as a single woman as I am a married woman. It seemed such a strange and radical thought, but I began to believe it…
Over time, I unfortunately went to the opposite extreme. I soon tried to convince myself that my dream of marriage was just that-a dream that was not even close to reality. I mean, look at all the stress my siblings and friends were under. Look at all the failing marriages around me. Look at how I can barely be civil with my roommates, who are so giving and tolerant of me. How would I even make it work with a man? I love being alone. A lot. Maybe I was not marriage material and, in fact, I knew I could be perfectly happy as a single my whole life.
Around the time I met Nathan (a year ago), I had recently entered a new stage in the “dating” game. My thoughts were more like, “Let’s have fun with this.” Who knows…I may meet someone, I may not. To be honest, I still had a deep desire to marry as all of my closest friends and family knew, but it was just tampered down a bit. The neat thing was, I was changing. My many years of therapy, self-discovery and spiritual growth had created in me a well-rounded person who had learned to change her thoughts. I soon discovered not only did I have a healthy view on marriage, but I was a healthy person, spiritually, emotionally, physically (overall) and mentally. I just did not have the self-confidence to continually believe it.
The cool thing was God was working in Nathan’s life similarly and so we were a great match for each other! This was not to say I didn’t continually doubt throughout our relationship. In fact, up until the wedding day, I would constantly hear the thought: “It’s not too late to back out.” I would shove the thought away as “just a thought.” My deepest heart knew there was no way I could “sabotage” this relationship. For so many years, I felt I was more undeserving of love (for some reason) than others. I had created a pattern of making myself miserable.
As Nathan and I reflected throughout our relationship, I soon discovered that my thoughts of marriage had radically transformed over the years. I now realized marriage was not just a status, a way to make myself feel complete. I now began to see it a selfless act, not only for my spouse but for God. I had been right, that I could have been content without a spouse for all of eternity. With God, anything is possible. But, I was wrong in that I was not marriage material.
Even in these early days of marriage, my former ideas and assumptions of marriage have been shattered. I just cannot believe how selfish I’ve always been. I can’t believe how much God has wanted to transform me by radical trust. Lately, this has played out in my ability to believe that I have what it takes to be a good wife. It seems I will ever be tormented by the lies, “You are weak and emotionally unstable,” “You are stupid” and “You are a failure and always ruin relationships.” While I am married to a wonderful godly man, who constantly reminds me of my worth to him, I have to believe it myself: that I am strong and can do anything with the power of Christ.
Low self-confidence, low self-esteem is really my enemy these days. Throughout my college years and most of my twenties, I took it in stride, almost worshiped and enjoyed the idea of me being depressed and lowly. I thought it was better than being full of myself. But now I know both are one and the same. Both are a way to think and obsess about yourself. Lack of self-confidence and fear of failure is just another way of telling God you don’t trust him or telling your spouse that what he says has no value. It can kill a marriage.
So here I am continually in awe of all the changes I have gone through: a new husband, new job (literally I accepted a new position right around the time I got engaged!),new commute, new house, new neighborhood, new name. So many other new things thrown at someone who doesn’t even deal with small changes that well. Yet, with Christ, I have been thriving. And, while being a new wife has thrown all sorts of fuel to the fire of my ever-present enemy (perfectionism), I have learned how to give myself grace.
I am learning to “go with the flow” and let the waves roll over me. Maybe I never will fully process everything I have been through. Maybe the reality of marriage will never fully set in; maybe I won’t “wake up” and be able to live in the moment of my wonderful reality. Maybe my low self-esteem problem and addiction to perfectionism will haunt me til kingdom come. Maybe I will still have the same addictions and skeletons in the closet. Maybe the boxes will stay strewn around the house. Maybe my new husband and I will never agree which tupperware to give and which to throw away or never find an answer to the infestation of fruit flies…Maybe. But I doubt it. We’ve seen God’s mercies at work already in our new marriage. We’ve seen him at work in our lives so fully before we got together and saw how he wove our relationship together from the very start. We are dreaming big about the future even with all of our stresses and never-ending amounts of work. Through the chaos, the messes and the fruit flies, I have learned to say, “It is well with me” and “God is good.” I hope you, too, are able to see the goodness and accept the Lord’s favors and grace in your life!