Yep, you read the title correctly. I’m getting a divorce. Some of you who know me personally are scratching your head in a state of confusion. My mom’s jaw probably dropped when she opened her email to this post. I’m on the other side of the screen laughing because it’s incredible how a catchy title draws in sooooo many new readers! So, here’s the deal: I am getting a divorce. Are you intrigued yet?
After reading a few books on the subject and going to our first sessions of premarital counseling, I have learned a very important lesson. Before I get married (and especially before I have a kid), I need to divorce myself. I need to stop being SELFISH and start being SELFLESS. I need to take the focus off of ME and shift it to WE. Can I get an amen?!
Premarital counseling is something I really looked forward to, but I know some people differ from me in the fact that they might not want someone prying on their relationship and sorting through the good, bad, and ugly parts of them. I can honestly say I enjoyed sharing all about my imperfect relationship with Eric and learning about how I can become a wife that honors God and my husband.
We stayed in Cleveland, Ohio with the Tredways last weekend to begin premarital counseling and had such a great experience. Aaron and his wife, Ginny, are an extremely cool Christian couple that we are so blessed to know.
I’m going to dive right in here and openly share what I learned. I pray that this serves your marriage as a reminder of what your roles in a Godly marriage might look like and if you’re engaged or hoping to be married in the future, you gain insight on how God intended for marriage to work. I pray that God blesses your relationship and you will never even toss the “d” word around jokingly with your spouse.
We discussed what OUR expectations are in marriage (easily), but what about God’s expectations?
There’s a “biblical formula” per se to have a healthy, thriving, successful marriage. That formula is in Ephesians 5:22-33 which God mandates the roles in marriage.
- Be a LEADER
- LOVE your wife unconditionally
- Be a HELPER
- RESPECT your husband
- LOVE your husband
- SUBMIT to the leadership of your husband
I learned that Eric was designed to take care of me and lead our family in the right direction. He won’t be able to fulfill his role if I’m constantly trying to lead myself. Like a dance, if two people try to lead, somebody’s toes are going to get stepped on and it will likely be a disaster of a performance.
Being Eric’s helpmate does not mean that I am weak or dependent or less than…in fact, it’s an extremely powerful role and necessary for our marriage to flourish! Being his helpmate means that we are a team. It means that I am not thinking about what’s best for me, but what’s best for WE (aka: Team Carpenter).
Respecting Eric comes fairly easy to me right now, but what about 10 years in when I am irritated with him for something and tempted to bash him publicly in the staff lounge? It’s going to take practice and I’m going to screw up at times, but my job is to respect my husband in private and public. That is the best way for me to love him.
Loving me isn’t too hard for Eric (at least I hope not!!!), but what about when I make him really angry? He has been commanded by God to love me WITHOUT CONDITION (as Christ loves the church)! By committing to me, Eric promises to love me even when he doesn’t like me.
His job is to serve. What does that look like? Serving means that he will make sacrifices to do what’s best for us. Serving was exemplified in the Bible when Jesus washed his disciples feet. Essentially, both Eric and myself will be servants to one another.
Uh oh, here we go. Final thought. Submit. The word that scares away every woman who, like myself, doesn’t like the sound of yielding to a higher authority. Let me just say this, submitting to your husband does NOT mean that you are his doormat. It does NOT mean that you cannot have a say in the marriage. It does NOT mean that you are supposed to wait on him hand and foot. Submitting to your husband means trusting him and following his lead. I believe submitting to Eric will be a lot like submitting to The Lord; believing that he has my best interest in mind and giving 100% of my effort like a team player should.
So there you have it. Get a divorce…from yourself. Die to self and experience a marriage the way God intended.
XO, Soon-to-be-wife Manda