I grew up as your stereo-typical little girl. I was convinced that I would grow up, meet a man who treats me like an absolute princess, we would get married, and then life would be complete. Marriage was my goal.
Marriage continued to be my goal even as I got older. I wanted to meet a good, Christian guy who loved God and loved me. Again, even though I would have denied feeling this way, deep down I felt that life would just always be fantastic once I was with my guy.
Fast-forward to college where I met my now-husband. Taylor was (and is) great. He loves God, wants us to grow, and tries to live his life for God. He has fantastic qualities and we tend to help each other in our weaker points. Yes, it was what I had waited for.
But we had a problem. I had been carrying around this false idea of the right person, of godly dating, and of godly marriage since I was a child. So when God brought Taylor into my life and everything wasn't perfect- because we
The real answer to that question is, of course "Because you are both human beings, Kristin!", but my little Cinderella brain couldn't quite get there. I had assumed that if it wasn't pure joy all the time, and if all of my struggles weren't gone, then I must not be with the right person.
People with anxiety don't just feel peace all the time. Being in a great situation doesn't mean there is nothing but peace. That is particularly true for people with anxiety, but it is true for everyone. God is the only one that has and gives perfect peace. Perfect peace doesn't come from being in a perfect situation. Perfect peace comes from a perfect God.
But since I was convinced that I had to have perfect peace about every moment of my life in order for it to be of God, I would worry if Taylor and I disagreed about anything, thinking that there was something wrong with us. I would worry if we didn't like the same hobbies, because it might mean we would bore each other in marriage. I would worry if we got in a fight, because obviously, Christian couples don't fight... #sarcasm.
But the thing is, none of these views were really coming from Scripture. No, my ideas of godly dating and marriage were a strange hodge-podge of Disney fairy tales mixed with "Christian" false-teaching that the Holy Spirit leads in your gut. I had bought into the lie that I would feel complete peace about anything that God wanted me to do, and I would have anxiety if it was sin. But that false view doesn't account for people with anxiety disorders. It also doesn't account for all the times people feel peace about something that God clearly wasn't calling them to do. It leaves out that fact that, just like our hearts, our emotions are tainted by this world-by sin. We can feel all sorts of crap. But feelings are not God. And though peace is a fruit of the spirit, that doesn't have anything to do with feeling peace about every decision you make. That's not what it means. And likewise, though our dating and marriage should reflect Christ, we will never reach perfection on earth, which means our marriages will never be perfect.
I spent so much time wrestling with all of this. I had so many false ideas to work through. I had so many rude awakenings that it was painful. And those false ideas were just so embedded in my perfectionist, fairy-tale brain, that I had to really fight to see the truth.
*The truth is that God uses our differences within marriage to help us grow, and to help us help each other.
*The truth is that when God brings two people together, they will never be perfect, but they will fit together well, help each other, encourage each other in God, and they will be committed to godliness. They will bear godly fruit together, even through their struggles.
*The truth is, that God knows exactly what we need, and He sees the big picture.
*The truth is, perfect relationships (if they existed) wouldn't grow us nearly as well as messy relationships that strive to know God more.
*The truth is, the bible never says anything about finding "the one". It simply tells us to be equally yoked, gives us qualities to look for, and implies that we need to be bearing godly fruit and helping each other in God and in our relationships with God.
The truth is, I still struggle with all of this. I am so incredibly blessed to have a husband that loves God and has a passion to see others thinking deeply about God and knowing Him as much as we are able to. He helps me in some of my weakest spiritual areas and I do the same for him. That is completely of God. We could not have cultivated that on our own. We could never have forced that to happen. Praise God for bringing us together and knowing what (and who) we needed. But since my false ideas were so deeply rooted for so long, I still have to fight to believe truth instead. It's easy to have a fight and think, "Oh, we must be a bad couple", but that is just so wrong.
I also know I am not alone. I am learning that more and more women, particularly around my age, fight against these lies too. They are right there with me, forcing themselves to remember that their ideas of marriage have to come from Scripture, not some load of crap that implies everything should be perfect, we should always feel fantastic, and we should never have any problems. Good grief! If that were true, no one would ever get married or date.
So join us as we fight the lies. Be thankful for and build up your spouse and your marriage, even if things aren't perfect (because they never will be). Know that God has you and your spouse together to bring Him glory, not so that we can get grumpy over every little imperfection.
Stand against the Enemies lies. Stand against your own lies. Stand against the lies of media and society.
And if you'd like to read more blogs about similar marriage issues, here are a few of my favorites:
Sobremesa Stories: How Perfectionism and High Expectations Impacted Our Marriage and Five Tips for Living in an Introvert-Extrovert Marriage.
She is Joyful: How I Knew He Was the One: It's Not What You Think.
His Endless Love (Guest Post): Marriage 101- Opposites Attract.
I hope those posts, along with this one, are a blessing to you. Remember to be discerning about what you are believing, and to constantly be thankful for your marriage.