Marriage is a Mystery
This post is dedicated to my amazing and loving husband, my best friend, Philip Andrew Canant. I love you to the moon and back baby! There's so many more adventures to come Hun, and I can't wait to go on them with you...Love, Your Wifey
"Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband." Ephesians 5:22-33, MSG
3 Crazy Years Three years ago today, I married a hottie named Philip ;) Marriage has been nothing short of a crazy adventure—full of emotion, highs, lows, romance, fun, hardship, friendship, learning, and oh so much more. I've come to realize that marriage isn't for sissies or the selfish. It takes guts, work, selflessness, and complete compassion. This third year has been the toughest yet. We've walked through hell but we've come out of it, learning so much more and believing the best is truly yet to come. Only those who've counseled us know what we've been through; and one day, we'll share and help other couples who are battling similar issues. But until then, we are focusing on one another and getting back to a place of friendship, romance, and just...love. But most importantly, inviting God to be at the center, teaching and showing us how to be married.
How to be married? Just as Paul states above in Ephesians 5, marriage is a huge mystery. I know he says he doesn't pretend to understand it because, well, he never got married. But, let me be so bold as to say, I'm married and still don't understand it! It's a true mystery—one only God can help us through by His son, Jesus Christ's example. So we've definitely come to the conclusion that without God at the center of our marriage, we can never truly understand what marriage is nonetheless receive and give the fulfillment that's supposed to come with marriage.
We've recently started a marriage book/devo by Mark and Grace Driscoll called Real Marriage. And let me tell you, it's real. We LOVE this book so far and can't wait to dig deeper. It's definitely one of the most raw and on-point books out there on marriage..ever. I'll definitely be sharing more from it as we read on.
Now since it's been three years of marriage, I thought it'd be fun to say three things I love about my honey which have also been three things I've learned about this mystery called marriage ;)
1.) He serves me—Philip serves me completely. Sometimes, even when I think he's not listening to me, he does. I recently found out that he has a "honey-do list" that he keeps next to his side of the bed. It's a hand-written list he has of everything I've been asking him to do around the house, make, or look into buying. It completely and instantly filled my heart when I found out he kept a list like that. Sometimes he doesn't get to everything I ask quickly, but he knows what needs to be done and gives thought and preparation towards completing those tasks. This is an addition to everything else he does daily (more so recently with pregnancy in the picture), like dishes, sweeping, bathing Emmy, grocery shopping, picking up her toys every night, rubbing my feet and back, putting on my shoes, helping with laundry, and so much more. He serves me to the best of his ability and it fills my love tank baby! Likewise, because of how he serves me, it has shown me a direct reflection of how Christ serves the church just the same. His care for me, is just one way he shows his love. He lays down things that he didn't have to when he was single like hanging out with friends all of the time, doing whatever he wanted to on the weekends, and everything else that revolved around just himself. He serves and sacrifices because he LOVES me, just as Christ loves the church. This teaches me so much about my part in marriage which should be likewise, to show my love for him towards serving him. Serving one another is not a chore or hindrance, but something we get to do and love to do.
2.) He prays for me—Philip prays over and for me every day. There's never a night when we go to bed without praying for one another. It's so vital to speak blessings, favor, healing, help and so forth over each other's life. Philip puts so much thought into our devotional time too, praying before we do anything together, and making sure I'm in a good place spiritually. He's my greatest accountability and help in making sure God is número uno and that I'm spending time in His word and at His feet. Likewise, I've learned from his example by how much I need to do the same for him. Being the head of the household is a tough job...our husbands need our prayers over them ladies. It used to be that only Philip would pray at night before bed, but now I pray after him—declaring God over him as he leads our family. Praying for specific things over Philip and sending him texts throughout the day of what I'm praying for him, builds him up. I've realized by doing so just how vital and needed it really is for a man. Just imagine if every husband were prayed for and built up in this way every day! Just imagine if both the husband and wife were!
3.) He's my best friend—The chapter we read last night in Real Marriage was titled, "Friends with Benefits". I have seriously never heard the definition of friendship put more perfectly or with so many great examples, including that of Protestent church founder, Martin Luther and his wife. What I gained from it was just how crucial friendship is in a marriage. Being true "bffs" in marriage creates an entirely different atmosphere. Friendship ties, molds, and lays a foundation that is unshakeable in so many ways. Marriage is the only acceptable form of friends with benefits haha, and we are so thankful for it's sanctity! Can I get an amen?! I've recently been struggling a lot with how friendships have changed in my life due to the fact that I'm just in a different season than most of my friends are, because they're still single. I've actually let it affect me a lot lately, to the point where I've been in tears constantly over feeling left out, forgotten, etc. Philip has been nothing but encouraging and loving despite my emotions with it. After reading this chapter last night though, my perspective has altered totally! God and the Driscoll's showed me that the term "friend" is literally over-given. We toss the word around so easily. We place a friendship label on people who are truly just acquaintances. "Friend" should be a more sacred word. And us gals, especially, overuse the phrase "best friend". Philip is my best friend. He's never treated me otherwise. He too has lost a lot of the closeness he once had with single guy friends due to marriage and having kiddos, but he never seemed to mind. Why? My sanguin extrovert self could never understand it. Now...I do. It's because I became his best friend. I became the one person he wanted to hang out with all of the time, go to the movies with, crack jokes with, and just do life with. Outside friendships are very much still important and we are encouraging each other to keep them and continue to make them of course, but when we don't place our spouse on their well-deserved-best-friend podium spot, we miss out and can even commit "emotional adultery" (a phrase I've never even heard of until reading this book). I never ever want to lose my husband as my one true best friend. And just like marriage, being a true friend takes work, commitment, care, sacrifice, time, energy, love, support, and so much more. That's exactly why we need to be more careful with the word.
So there you have it ladies and gents. Today's a special day for us. But it's more than just the day we threw a big wedding, it's the day we became one and entered the never-ending fighting arena we call marriage. It's a fight that we never want to quit and we know we've already won. It's a fun fight. It's a fierce fight. It's an ugly fight. It's a fight full of laughter and love. Sound strange or contradicting of sorts? That's the mystery folks...that's the mystery :)
Joyfully married for three years now, Erica