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Hello! My name is Jasmin and I’m just a girl, madly in love with Jesus, my husband, two sons, and my sweet baby girl. I hold a MA degree in Special and General Education, as well as a MA degree in Christian Studies with a Specialization in Youth Ministry. I am currently a financial coach and the executive director of a mentoring program for teenage girls called, King’s Daughters United.
My husband, Aaron, and I have been married 6 years. We have grown tremendously with God as our guide and would love to share our faith-filled journey with you. You can read more about us on my website.
4 Tips to Thrive in Your Marriage
Often, people get married with certain unspoken expectations. Wives expect their husbands to line up to the fairy-tale, prince charming they have been waiting for their whole lives. Husbands expect their wives to have all the qualities they love about their own mothers and none of the flaws. The problem is, this rarely happens. Instead, these unspoken expectations become a point of contention used by the enemy to bring division and unfulfillment to our marriages. Because I know the struggle, I will share 4 tips to thrive in your marriage that helped us.
From the beginning of our relationship, my husband and I strived to put God first and honor him. I was not exactly raised in the church like my husband. I grew up knowing about God because I attended a Catholic school from kindergarten to eighth grade. However, I didn’t truly give my life over to Christ until I was 26. At that point, I had already been divorced with a 5-year-old son.
My husband and I met at church and we served regularly as members. We had many mutual friends and his parents had embraced me as a church daughter the day I began attending. We were not very friendly at first and just saw each other in passing. However, two years later, through much prayer and a revelation from God, my husband and I began our courting process.
Feeling that God directly led me to my husband made it even more difficult. My expectations of a godly Christian man that God approved for me were way higher than a regular guy I would have chosen myself. In the same way, my husband had waited on God for 29 years and expected great things from his wife.
4 Tips to Thrive in Your Marriage
- Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations and Seek to Understand Differences.
Husbands and wives may come from two different backgrounds or cultures. In our case, my husband was brought up in a traditional family. His mom chose to stay at home to raise and educate him and his four siblings. He also grew up in the church. Though my father was active in my life, I did not live with him. My mother was a single mom who had to work hard. She was also more of an authoritarian parent who valued performance and achievement over other social-emotional factors. Because of our distinct upbringings, my husband tends to be more laid back and I tend to be more assertive and task-driven.
While I am extremely grateful to all our parents for how they raised us, it certainly has been a challenge to find a healthy balance in our marriage. My husband would come home from work and be done for the day. He expected I would do everything his mother did at home, although I worked a full-time job. If he helped around the house by cleaning up after himself or cooking a meal, he didn’t see it as contributing to the household. Rather, he saw it as directly helping me with my responsibilities. He hadn’t thought through the ramifications of having a wife who worked full-time.
On the other hand, I expected him to behave like a traditional Hispanic male, though he is Jewish. Clearly this was a very unrealistic expectation; yet, I had never thought about the differences in lifestyles and attitudes among different cultures. If something needed to be done with the car or any other manual labor, I expected it taken care of without delay or request. Although my husband is very handy, he was not motivated, at first, to get things done like I would have wanted.
Genesis 2:24 (ESV) says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Instead of holding tight to our own cultures and upbringing, we needed to work together to intertwine the two in a way that will be best for our family.
Related: “4 Ways to Deal with Unmet Expectations in Marriage”
2. Submit to One Another.
The main problem in our marriage was that neither of us wanted to compromise. I wanted things done my way, at my time. (Can any strong woman feel my pain?) When it wasn’t, I would nag my husband and then eventually lash out. My husband did not appreciate being bossed around but he was not confrontational. So, instead of addressing the issue, he would become passive-aggressive. He would make it a point to do the opposite of what I asked in an effort to get me to stop bossing him around. This was all wrong and out of God’s order!
First of all, ladies, scripture says we were created to be a “helper [one who balances him—a counterpart who is] suitable and complementary for him” (Genesis 2:18 AMP). Are you complementary for your husband? Are you a helper to him? If your honest answer is no, that’s okay. All hope is not lost! The mere fact that you are willing to take an honest look in the mirror means you are ready to restore your marriage to how God intended it to be.
Throughout the first years of my marriage, I felt bitter because I wanted my husband to lead our home and be the head of our family. However, I did not take responsibility for refusing to relinquish that role to him. I wanted him to be more assertive and take control. Yet, every time he attempted that, I would correct him or be unappreciative of his efforts. Ephesians 5:21 says we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Verse 22 goes on to explain that wives should submit to their husbands, as to the
Lord because he is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his church. I highly doubt my nasty attitude and nagging showed reverence to Christ! Are you submitting to your spouse or is your behavior contingent upon how he is making you feel at the moment?
3. Don’t make any person, even your spouse an idol.
No one is perfect. We are fallen, sinful beings. Your spouse will fail you. They will hurt your feelings and they will disappoint you. Not because they are uncaring or terrible people, but because we are all flawed. Our spouses cannot save us; they cannot make us whole. The only one who can do that is God. When we stop depending on God and shift our dependency to our spouse, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
In Genesis 3:17 (ESV), God told Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you…” Obviously, God is not saying to never listen to your wife. What he is saying is that we should follow him and his word over anyone else’s. Because we are all fallen people and operate out of our flesh nature at times, we need to make sure we are depending on and following the Lord, not man.
4. God has to become more in your marriage and you have to become less.
This was a direct revelation God gave me concerning my marriage. He told me that he’s always had a purpose for us but that the first years we needed to learn what it meant to be in a God-honoring marriage. We needed to grow in love and servitude towards one another, putting our own needs second. We also needed to learn to trust the Lord in all things concerning our lives and marriage.
Initially, I didn’t trust my husband to lead which also meant I didn’t trust that God would take care of me and equip my husband for the task at hand. I had become used to self-reliance. I only trusted my own works and abilities. In letting go of my selfish ambitions and need for control, God was able to step in and transform our marriage.
Related: The Proverbs 31 Wife: More Precious Than Rubies
If you are struggling with finding joy in your marriage, whether in the beginning stages or later on in life, I pray that God would breathe new life into your marriage. I pray that he would give you eyes that see the very best in your spouse and a heart that overflows with love, grace, and compassion. May you be filled with wisdom in relating to your spouse and a supernatural desire to serve your spouse like never before. I rebuke any schemes of the enemy that attempt to come in between your marriage and declare that it is holy, sanctified, and blessed. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
What tips would you add for thriving in marriage?
God has chosen our husband’s just for us and what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like will be different for each of us. Trust that God will take care of you.