Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Building a Marriage

My husband is home after his mission trip in Brazil and boy does he have stories to tell. The girls and I missed him so much. This is the longest we’ve been apart, EVER. Of course it got me thinking about how much I love him. They were in Brazil building a church brick by brick and it reminded me of one of the turning points in our relationship. The year I learned how to build a marriage.

Our second and third years were definitely the hardest. That first year we truly were just in that honeymoon period where you ignore the stuff that’s not working. The second year, the frustration set in. I didn’t realize it but going into marriage I had a lot of expectations. I wanted the perfect Christian marriage that I imagined so many others had. Most days we didn’t line up with those expectations and I didn’t like it one bit. My husband began to withdraw to a place where he was accepted just as he was and encouraged for doing things right, his work. The more he withdrew, the worse it got, and the vicious cycle continued. Thankfully, I would soon learn that the “perfect” marriage doesn’t exist. When things between us were at their worst, a good friend intervened and gave me a talking to that I’ll never forget.

Our friend used a great analogy. He said that it was as if I had these blueprints for the perfect marriage but the problem was my husband didn’t have access to them. Every time he put a brick in the wrong place so to speak, I was frustrated, disappointed, and just downright disrespectful. He said that building a marriage was like deciding together each day where we would lay a brick. That it was only at the end of our days that we would look back and see the beautiful one-of-a-kind marriage we had. Somehow that made sense to me.

I threw out the blueprints after that. I embraced the idea that our marriage wouldn’t look like anyone else’s as a good thing. We began to figure out what worked best for us. We started getting to know each other again. And most importantly, we put our trust in God to be the architect and builder. It took some time but we began to build something that by God’s grace would last. I think we’ve got some interesting and wonderful and unique design elements to our marriage.

Eight years later, I was delighted to see a similar analogy in the Beth Moore Bible study we just finished called Stepping Up. Remembering that Jesus was a carpenter by trade she says, “Keep in mind that Christ is a custom builder...Let Him tell you how He wants your house to look instead of the other way around. He alone has the blueprints.” Wow, I knew exactly what she was talking about.

The church they built in Brazil is a very basic, one room structure, but one day during a lunchtime devotion, they felt the Holy Spirit fall on that place. In that same way, I want the Holy Spirit to be our guide and work in us to build a marriage that honors and glorifies Him. That would be…well…perfect.


Susan said...

Great post! I love the analogy with the blueprints.

Amy Lafayett said...

Good words of wisdom for all of us. I want to hear more about the trip!!

Montee said...

Tracy, this was a good analogy. I have finally figured out to throw out the blueprint that I want and decided to go along with God's blueprint. I don't think that I went into marriage thinking it would be a certain way.(The first year was the worst for me. We are both so stubborn!) I think I went into LIFE thinking it should be a certain way. I was pretty sheltered growing up and had to figure out that things don't always go just as you plan. Now when something doesn't go how I think it should, I just say, "Okay God, lead the way."

I'm with Amy. I want to hear about Jeff's adventures. I don't THINK he did this but I CAN imagine him swinging through the Brazilian jungle by a vine!

Tracy Bro said...

What a great point Montee. Life in general should work like this. Looks like I'll have to write a post about Brazil.