Finding God and Joy in My Perfect “Mismatched” Marriage
“Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit, and so be at peace with one another.”
–Ephesians 4:2-3, TLB
This scripture speaks loudly to me in the context of marriage. If only I could say I consistently lived by these principles. As a Christian married to a loving, caring man who is not a believer, I have lived a range of emotions that don’t always reflect Christ well.
I sit in the pews of church–alone. As communion starts, I fight back the feelings–the longings. I watch as couple, after couple, after couple and family, after family, after family, walk together toward the table. They wrap their arms around each other and pray before the table. They drink from the cup and they break the bread of communion, together.
I ache. I wish. I hope. And, I think to myself, “If only . . . .” I take my eyes off Christ, and I think only of me. The jealousy and “if onlys” reflect what I want. These feelings linger–sometimes barely there and other times more pronounced. I think of what I don’t have, instead of the incredible gift that I do have–the incredible, loving, brilliant, hysterically funny man who God chose for me.
I need to fix my eyes on Christ. Because, more than my longing to stand before the communion table with my husband, I long for him to know Christ. I long for him to know God’s grace and mercy.
And so, in the early morning hours as I wake, I roll over, wrap my arm around my love’s middle, hold him tight, and pray. I pray for us–for the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life–and that we will be led together by the Holy Spirit. I pray for my husband–that God will pursue him and prepare his heart. And, I give thanks for the incredible gift of marriage–with all its mountain tops and valley floors and all the paths along the way.
When I seek Christ’s face, I live the rich reality of my marriage with the man who loves me deeply, who makes me laugh, and who still calls me his bride some 23 years later. And I am at peace with God’s plan.
Instead of thinking,”If only. . .,” I breathe softly, “Amen.”
Note: In this story, I hope to honor my marriage and show my deep love and devotion to my husband. Perhaps those in Christian marriages will understand a little more about mismatched marriages, and know that our struggles are not so different. And, perhaps by sharing my story, others in mismatched marriages will know that they are not alone.