Lately what has been on my heart is the idea of marriage. Yes, you heard me. Marriage. No, not the dresses and suits and flying bouquets and garters of a wedding. I’m talking about the part after “I do”. The part where you’re in the middle of acting out those vows you spoke over your now-spouse. “But Niki,” you say. “You’re not married. What do you know about marriage?”
Valid point. Touche, my friends.
If I can be totally honest, I don’t know a whole lot about what a healthy marriage looks like. My parents divorced when I was really little. I spent my childhood being shuffled from one house to the other. My mother has been married (and divorced) AT LEAST four times. Sob story, sob story… Does any of this sound familiar?
So what is my point? My point is this: I absolutely REFUSE that for myself.
Maybe you’ve heard this before, but marriage is a metaphor for how passionately and furiously Jesus desires us, his bride. He loves his bride. He cherishes his bride. He honors his bride all of her days. He sweeps her off her feet. He romances his bride. If that is how Jesus desires ME, should I expect anything less in my own marriage?
Ever since I became the “appropriate” age for dating, I have spent a lot of time, energy, and heartache over failed (and often times horrendous) relationships. Looking back, I can’t help but want to slap myself for thinking that any of them was ever a good idea. But the Lord has redeemed that area in my life (thank GOD!). Many of those relationships failed because I thought I could fix that person. They failed because I thought in order for them to love me, I needed to give myself over physically to them. Ultimately, they failed because I sought my identity in being loved and approved of by men. It makes me a little sad as I go back and read all that. But mostly I’m filled with joy because I know now what the truth is.
The truth is, I am loved and approved of by Daddy God. Not because of any other reason except I am His beloved daughter. I am Daddy God’s little girl. I find my identity in Christ. Emphasis, emphasis, emphasis!!!!!
So what does this have to do with marriage? Hang on, I’m getting there.
These “a-HA!” moments came slowly, and I didn’t figure it all out on my own. It has come through living in community and surrounding myself with sturdy, fruitful, God-centered marriages. And of course, it has taken me a lot of time and HEALING. Lots and lots of HEALING (emphasis, emphasis, emphasis!!).
I’m talking about heart healing. For me, it’s been the kind of healing where I let all my terrible experiences as a child resurface and I tackle them head on. My nasty rejection issues, my awful control issues, and all my other issues are being dealt with now before I subject my future spouse to the consequences and reactions of those issues. I’m dealing with them now before I react out of those gaping wounds in a way that will hurt or dishonor my future husband. And I’m not saying that after I get married there won’t be any more issues to work through with my husband. But my goal now is to let my heart become as whole as it can be before I become a truly whole person with someone else.
I was inspired today through an amazing woman of God, whom I love so dearly. She was telling me that, after almost 20 years of marriage, her and her husband have come up against new issues that they are having to work through together. Sounds weird to be inspired by that, I know. But I was inspired because this beautiful couple has such a solid relationship. They have built their marriage on THE Rock. And though the rain is falling, though the floods are coming, though the winds are blowing and beating on that house, their marriage WILL NOT fall. Their house WILL NOT fall. (Referring to Matthew 7:25).
I was inspired because THAT’S the kind of marriage I want to have. I want to get 10, 15, 20 years in and know that even though new issues are being brought up, my marriage will not fall because it is God-centered. It will not fall because it was built on the solid Rock.
So that’s it. Those are my thoughts on marriage. To sum it all up: my marriage will be solid because I will be healed up, my future husband will be healed up, and it will be built on the Rock. I declare that in Jesus’ name!
Niki Thomas is a 22 year old nursing major at Charleston Southern University. She is a graduate of the New Day Community Church School of the Heart, a member of the worship team and is actively involved with our youth. You can follow her personal blog at hucksterthoughts.blogspot.com