My husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage last week!! Honestly, it feels like we have only been married for a few years. The only real reminder that it’s been 20 years is my children; my youngest son’s long legs and my oldest son’s deep voice. They’re the only reminders. Watching our boys grow takes my mind back to the times when my husband and I were just kids ourselves, learning how to navigate life together.
I was only 24 years old when we got married, just 4 years older than my adult son is today. My younger self was insecure but outspoken, naive but “all-knowing”, social but lonely. I was full of contradictions because I didn’t really know who I really was yet. By the time we had met, Jonathan had a lifetime of experiences that had left him with scars and distrust of even those close to him. Neither of us saw the other one coming, but God knew that we needed each other.
Here is an excerpt from the chapter, “Renewed and Transformed” from the book, Kill the Busy, Save the Bee. It will give you a little glimpse into the mind shift that took place sometime after we said, “I do”.
Once the honeymoon was over and we started living together, this mind shift quickly became apparent through very ordinary tasks such as household chores. My husband and I had different upbringings. So when I shared with him the list of chores and delegated the responsibilities like he was one of my younger siblings in my childhood home, he looked at me and said, “I’ll get it done when I get it done.” Eventually, he had to put me in my place and let me know that he wasn’t my little brother.
This was our first challenge as a young married couple. It sounds trivial, but, girl, it took some time to get this together! After becoming annoyed with each other, we had to take the time to listen to and consider each other’s feelings and viewpoints. And thus began the sliver of change in the minds of us both.
As time has progressed, I have learned patience from my dear husband. See, I am an individual who likes to resolve problems immediately. When we were younger, if my husband and I ran into a problem between us, or just issues in general, I wanted to talk about it and come to a solution ASAP. But my husband has taught me the value of waiting and analyzing. If I asked him the next day about what we discussed, he would simply say, “I’m still thinking about it.” And, boy oh boy, would that drive me up the wall! But over time, his method of waiting and thinking has completely rubbed off on me. It gives us time to pray and wait on the Lord.
In this same way, we both had to make a shift in the way we each thought about church, intermediate family, raising children, money, and friendships as well as a wealth of other life choices and ideas.
Change is a huge factor within the marriage relationship because being a couple means you no longer look at the world through one set of lenses. You must forever try, with all your might, to see the world through the lens of your partner as well. My husband and I have worked on this for almost twenty years now and I think it is safe to say that we have developed the same mindset. Sure, he has his own thoughts and feelings and I have mine, but we now have the ability to predict, interpret, and incorporate each other’s thoughts and feelings.
I use this analogy of marriage to encourage you, my sister. Yes, if you are married, I want to encourage you and your husband to listen to each other. Take the best of you and your spouse and use them to be a team that works together to bless each other and others. But what I really want you to notice from this analogy is that marriage is a picture of how God wants us to be in relation to Himself. Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Sis, I want to remind you today that when you said, “Yes” to God, you not only said “yes” to the free gift of salvation, but you also said, “yes, Lord, I receive your Spirit”. There is no way that you can ever be separated from Him and therefore, the Spirit of God in you is ALWAYS with you, speaking to you through the Word and godly people, showing you which way to go, teaching you how to respond to others, and calling you out on all your foolishness LOL! You cannot escape His voice. Of course, you don't always like what He has to say, but you know that He knows what is best for you. So here is the thing, are you going to allow Him to renew your mind? Are you going to learn from the Spirit when he speaks? Are you going to read the Word and see the world through God’s lens? Allow the Spirit to transform your mind so that you can predict, interpret, and incorporate thoughts and feelings of the Spirit into your daily life!
Now that we are on the other side of a 20-year mind shift, my husband and I have become more patient, kind, loving, and forgiving than we were when we said, "I do". Together, we've been transformed by the Spirit of God! What a testimony!
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