pots

My adorable almost 26 year old medical student was home for a few days this week and we did a lot of catching up.  He’s been so busy studying and trying to prepare for his board exam this summer that it felt like a special treat to have him to myself for a day or two.

We talked about everything under the sun and can I just say that I’m so proud to be his mama.  He’s one of my favorite people to spend an afternoon with and for good reason. He’s smart, funny, passionate, and really interested in our advice on important things.

The subject of marriage came up and we all tossed around our ideas of what is the ideal time to get married these days. Is early marriage better? Should you wait until you have a more stable income? Until you’re done with all your schooling? And a million other considerations.

Then my winsome Stevie pipes up, “Well, you just need to decide when you want the real suffering to start, that’s all.”

Yep, that’s what he said.  We all started laughing.  Me, especially.

BECAUSE IT’S TRUE. And it’s so rare that someone will just say it.

I even added, “Yeah, you just have to decide when you’re ready to take up your cross, Tay.” And coming off Easter weekend, the metaphors were easy to see.

Yes, of course, there’s the really wonderful side of marriage, too—the sheer joy and love you feel when everything is right and there’s no tension and no misunderstanding and no disappointment.   But the part nobody talks about is how hard it all is.  The part you’re not ready for is the fact that’s it’s by far the most daunting thing you’ll ever  do.  Nobody tells you how much sacrifice and forgiveness and dying to yourself there will be.  Nobody warns you that the feelings will come and go, that the fire in your belly will peter out and you’ll be left with a gnawing sense that it maybe it’s supposed to be better than this.

AND NOBODY TELLS YOU THAT ALL OF THAT IS NORMAL.

I know the sting of it all too well, because I wasn’t able to make my first marriage work.

But I’ve learned a lot in twenty years.  And I’ve learned that this relationship has been given to us primarily as an instrument of our sanctification, and only secondarily as a  way for us to find contentment and fulfillment. But we have it all backwards. We chase after some elusive dream of superficial happiness, when no such thing has ever been promised us.

Every Sunday, Stevie and I sit together and publicly confess our sins to each other and to our congregation—that we have not loved God with our whole heart and that we have failed to love our neighbor as ourselves. The neighbor I fail the most? Him, always.  Every single week. Why? Because he’s the one I can’t hide from, the one who sees both the best and the worst of me, the one who really knows me.

Then?  We walk together and kneel at the communion rail, holding out hands like beggars, believing that this meal will do what Jesus said it would do—bring life and forgiveness and salvation, His very body joining to mine and uniting mine to my both to His and his.

And this is how we finally have peace—when we begin to submit to the sanctifying, dare I say, crucifying work of Christ in our hearts.

The very fact that it feels hard doesn’t mean you’re failing, it means you’re trying and when you take a closer look, you’ll see that this very person and this difficult circumstance may in fact be the exact thing God is using to remake you into who He created you to be.

It’s hard because it’s suppose to be hard. Hold still. Stay in the murky mess of it and watch for the miracle. More likely than not, it’ll be the miracle in your own heart that will surprise you the most.

He is the skillful potter, chipping away at our rough edges—our bitterness and hard heartedness and self-righteousness and sin.  This is work that hurts us and breaks us and puts the death our ego so that Christ can raise us (and our often flailing marriages) to new life.

CS Lewis said it this way:

Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours.  Not even your hopes for a some polished and perfect, fairy-tale version of  marriage.  Sometimes marriage fails or maybe just our idea of it, but Christ never does.  Take hope that the real, raw, and gritty version that most of us struggle through everyday is exactly how it is supposed to be because it keeps us humble and repentant and all the more thankful when  joy sneaks into our everyday mess and overwhelms us out of nowhere.

I finally found peace in my marriage when I quit looking for peace with him and starting looking for peace with Him.

***

p.s. Check out the book trailer for my spiritual memoir, All the Pretty Things and don’t miss the preorder bonuses by getting a copy today!

All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth from Genesis One Productions on Vimeo.

34 comments on “How I Finally Found Peace in My Marriage”

  1. Beautifully said, Edie! Thank you for this post. I love thinking on and talking about singleness, dating, and marriage because of how those circumstances have played out in my own life, and it is so helpful when people talk about what real, day to day marriage looks and feels like. I’m so glad you had such great catch up time with you son!

  2. Another great post and I love the C.S. Lewis quote, it’s so true it gave me goosebumps! My husband and I celebrated 18 years of marriage yesterday and it has been both amazing and grueling and truly life changing. We have both grown so much through it we hardly recognize ourselves!

  3. Lovely, just lovely! Brought me to tears as it is all so true. I’ve been married almost 35 years and some of the hardest most trying times when we felt helpless we always knew He was there for us and tomorrow would come and we could/would get through. We have told our grown children that every day is a commitment to each other and to marriage – some days are easy and some days are hard. Some days we are “over the moon” in love and some we don’t even like each other BUT we made a commitment. A commitment to each other, to our future family and to Him and in the end we always try to remember to focus on that. Commitment, faith, family and love.
    Like parenting it’s one of “the hardest jobs you will ever love”.

  4. Edie, Amen! Amen! Amen! Beautiful reflection of such a beautiful truth about the sanctity of marriage! You are so prayerfully thoughtful and such a gifted writer. I just want to say thank you so very much for being such a blessing!

  5. What a most profound wisdom about marriage, especially a “maturing in Christ” marriage. I will have to keep this as a fav and reread frequently. Please don’t withhold the grit… it’s a blessing to folks… especially me!

  6. I have always agreed with the sentiment that marriage is hard, and that I need to push in God. Healthy relationships have arguments, it’s how our resolve them. Yet what I hadn’t realized for 9 years of marriage was that there were unhealthy patterns of emotional abuse. Patterns of not truly being able to work through issues no matter what the other person said. God has opened my eyes to this and I have yet to see how He may move.

  7. I love this too. But wish there was a bit more about the day to day of a marriage. Such as when to know when too much suffering is too much from your husband. It’s hard to know is this normal or am I being abused?

    Thank you and anymore insight you might have would be very helpful to me.

    • Sweet Erin! My heart aches for you. I don’t know your situation or have any sage advice. But Jesus! Just wanted you to know that I am covering you and your marriage in prayer.

  8. Twenty years in—and we are committed to telling young people around us the truth about marriage—-the richness and beauty and the hard and grueling.

    It is death to self in every regard. It is in dying that you really live.

  9. Being married 35 years I can totally agree with the struggle and the suffering. But who knows that perhaps we were made for just this to lead us closer in our walk to Him. We make promises and vows little knowing that emotions may come and go but the promise stands, even if it means staying in a marriage where love has grown distant and working through theses periods to find a joy that only He can supply.

  10. This was really good and something I’ve felt/said for years, but felt guilty that my marriage wasn’t as smooth as others’ seems to be. Recently, I re-read Romans 8:28 in light of my marriage and was encouraged by that, as well – it’s all working for my good cause I love the Lord and I’m called according to His purpose…one of which is to be sanctified in my marriage.
    Thanks again.

  11. I must add to the chorus. THANK YOU, Edie! God sent these words to me through you this weekend. 28 years of marriage and this was by far one of the worst weeks. Your/HIS message gave me hope and strength.

  12. How soon do we want the suffering to start…LOL…so funny but so very true! Thanks for helping me to remember today that the hard parts are what bring me closer to Him, thanks Edie!

  13. What happened to your blog? I’ve been reading it for a long time, but haven’t commented before. It looks like the font and font color is tiny and light. I can hardly read it . . .even with my glasses on. 🙁 So many blogs I follow seem to have gone the way of tiny font. Or maybe it’s just me. One more strange thing about lifeat age 47. lol.

  14. Just home from our 40th anniversary trip…thinking about the last 40 years, I have to chuckle at GOD’s sense of humor… We are complete opposites which causes many interesting moments! We are blessed, we have endured good and really bad.. We are friends and lovers… Grateful that GOD created marriage and has blessed ours. Beautiful post Sweet Edie.

  15. The only thing wrong with this posting was that I didn’t read it 27 years ago. But perhaps like me, years ago you didn’t know the truth as you know it now to be able to share. Wonderful advice which I am sharing with my married daughters. Love your writing and beyond that, that you open up your life to share with us which has been such a blessing to me.

  16. Thank you for your post. Honest words about our stories are important to share so we can glean wisdom and understanding for ourselves. Knowing you are a believer and from your other posts I know you are thoughtful and desire ot please God in all things. That we both know is a struggle sometimes. Again, thank you for sharing a part of your story. I do love your new look.

  17. Wow! This is so refreshing and true. I appreciate the way you bring the truth of Gods word to life with such candor. Thanks fir keeping it real

  18. Awesome! This is my second marriage and we have been married for 3 years. He has three granddaughters and they are beautiful. The oldest one does not like me (she just left me a letter) and said that we wish I would have never been in her papa’s life. I am very hurt and my husband has not comforted me about this. His first wife died with cancer. He and she practically raised the older granddaughter. She misses her badly and I feel uncomfortable. I don’t feel that the house is mine. My first husband was a alcoholic; and guess what – my second one is also. Although when we first met he had quite drinking for three years. I feel that I am not good enough for him and his grandchildren.

    Please pray for me. I know that God can take care of this; but right now I don’t

  19. I found you from your friend Ruth who did a book shout out. I started to read the chapter 1 at work when it was slow and I didn’t get far in
    and was undone… had to stop…. crying at work…. something in me unearthed and then I stumbled on your blog and you said things ao authentically Im drawn to your redemption story. I suppose that’s why it instills so much fear to finish that book, because the enemy knows how much GOOD influence it will have…
    Thank you Thank you Thank you for your honesty, Keep writing.
    God Bless you

  20. I found you from your friend Ruth who did a book shout out. I started to read the chapter 1 at work when it was slow and I didn’t get far in
    and was undone… had to stop…. crying at work…. something in me unearthed and then I stumbled on your blog and you said things so authentically I’m drawn to your redemption story. I suppose that’s why it instills so much fear to finish that book, because the enemy knows how much GOOD influence it will have…
    Thank you Thank you Thank you for your honesty, Keep writing.
    God Bless you

  21. This is beautifully written. I would like to copy parts of it into my prayer journal. These words and their meaning (to me) should be whispered in a prayer.

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