I admit, I wanted to be married. I jumped right in with an amateur’s mindset. I had loads of energy and enthusiasm and a desire to actively love, but once I hit a few bumps, I realized marriage is no joke. Life, work, unmet expectations, commitments, and demands all hit hard and it seemed active, engaged, and purposeful love was the first to go. It was easy to think things were going to be ok because we were married and made a commitment to stay together, but those thoughts were just not going to cut it. When efforts wane from both parties, the natural tendency is to think I need to take care of myself because I am the only one who can do it the right way. Thus starts the crazy cycle. A fixation on how unfulfilling marriage is became a dark cloud that overshadowed my once rose-colored glasses.
The other day, it occurred to me I have moved onto a new season in my marriage; I am no longer an amateur. A switch has flipped and I now consider extending grace and love to my husband one of my highest callings on this earth. I have become a professional. Like a vocation or a career – this is what I was called to do. After earning two degrees and working many years in the corporate world, I cannot believe I am writing this. Recalling all the hours I once spent as a designer studying the end-user and designing products to meet their needs, I now find myself applying in marriage all the things I would be doing to build my career. Such as on-the-job-training (as a wife), studying and learning about my subject (my husband), and becoming an expert in my field (marriage). It takes quite a bit of work and intentionality every day but I am so fulfilled. Yet, I wonder how our culture has us convinced marriage only requires the same amount of effort as you would put into a part-time job.
As a professional wife, I need to show up every day no matter what. It takes commitment to love my husband because the survival of my marriage is at stake. The stakes are high because my child is watching and he will learn sticktoitiveness and dedication by how my husband love in our marriage. More importantly, I accepted this job – I made a vow and I signed the papers. To become one with another person is not for the faint of heart. The more I seek to love my husband, the more I recognize my need for Jesus as my own humanity often gets in the way.
Genesis 1:27 says “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” As equals my husband and I are both designed in the image of God. An image is a representation or physical likeness of a person. Therefore I believe I am to mirror God’s love in our marriage. Our union means I am the one person on this earth who is most equipped to extend the love and grace of God to my husband. I realize my husband is human just like me and if God can extend grace to me through His son Jesus, it is my job to extend the same grace to my husband. My mission to love my husband well is purely an act of obedience to the One who made me.
Sacred Story is honored to have Julie Landreth as a guest contributor to the blog this month. Read her story Did I Marry A Jerk? in the story collection on the site to hear more about her journey. Julie is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage. She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA through her WifeLab curriculum: The Art of Praying for your Husband. She and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love and communication. They have had a date night every Friday night since their son was 8 months old. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her 10 year old son who shares many of her artistic talents.