A guest post. Godly Wives is a space where women talk candidly and honestly about real issues in marriage.
My husband Zack and I have been married for 4 months. When I got the invitation from Sam to write about my marriage journey, part of me thought, “I just got married. I probably don’t have much wisdom to share.” But looking back, Zack and I would both say that it has already been quite a journey and we have grown so much.
If I had to reveal the secret of maintaining a close relationship with my husband, I would say it is conflict. I believe that many people, like me, do not like conflict. We have the notion that conflict drives people apart. On the contrary, as I have discovered in my marriage, conflicts help us to know each other better.
When Zack and I were dating, we naturally wanted to find out the other person’s likes and dislikes – what he liked to eat, what music he listened to, what hobbies he had, etc. We wanted to be able to do what the other person liked to do so that we could be together as often as possible.
Everyone enjoys the process of dating. This is because we all want to be known and understood. We want to be accepted fully and unconditionally by the other person.
But when we begin living together, other parts of our character are revealed… including the parts of us that are not so adorable or that we ourselves do not even know of. Even our closest friends have yet to see the worst of us because they are not with us 24/7. This is also the time when conflict arises.
What I have learned is that if we choose to run away from the problem or ignore the conflict, not only do we lose the chance to get to know each other on a deeper level, but the same problem will also surface again. On the other hand, when both parties are able to face the situation and communicate after cooling down, we then begin to see our weaknesses, and learn to accommodate each other. After talking things through, we feel that we have known each other more, and have grown closer to each other.
Therefore I encourage you, whether you are a single or married person, to develop the skill of talking out your conflicts. It does not matter if it is between friends or between husband and wife. If you treasure your relationships, you must learn to communicate and not give up on knowing the person you love on a deeper level.
This brings me to another important lesson I have learned through marriage. It is to enjoy the process.
Looking back on the past 4 months, if there was one thing that I could do differently, I would let myself enjoy the process of building a home. Just like many other women, I wanted my wedding to be special and romantic. Therefore, in the process of preparing for my wedding, I tried to control and make sure that everything turned out just as I imagined it to be. In the process of chasing after the results that I wanted, I forgot what the real focus was – my relationship with my husband. I could not enjoy the preparation of being a bride because I was too focused on getting the results that I wanted. I had to constantly remind myself that no matter how the wedding turned out to be, it was just a part of the process. The real deal begins after the wedding , which is known as marriage. After all the busyness of preparation has died down, it will just be me and my husband. Isn’t this just what I’ve always wanted, being able to be with the person I love most?
Things may not always be perfect, but I am learning to enjoy the process of doing something together with Zack. I believe this is the beginning of building a marriage.
In the course of our marriage, not only will we have to decide on what type of sofa to get and who will be responsible for washing the laundry, but we will have much more important life decisions that need to be made together. Therefore we should not forget that eventually we are just two sinners saved by God’s grace – we’re all gonna make some mistakes, we’re all gonna need grace from each other, and we all need to learn to receive God’s grace and give grace to one another.
I pray that we can all commit to grow with our spouses, and let God’s glory shine through our commitment with each other. For His grace is enough for us.
If you are interested, I would recommend you read an article called 9 questions to ask when your relationship starts getting serious. I find it is very practical for the singles, but some also very helpful for the married.
Olga Mills married Zack last September and they currently live in Taiwan where they both serve with YWAM. Seeing people’s lives get changed miraculously by God has been the favorite part of her job. She loves trying different kind of food, and has recently begun developing her baking and cooking skills. Read more of their story here.