Discernment in Marriage

We met Bob on our family vacation living next door to our house rental. We invited him over for coffee one morning, and he told us about his sixty years of life before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He mentioned how his wife left him after five years of marriage because he wouldn’t change. As he retold the succession of women that came after her, he said, “Yea, they all tried to change me, but I would never let them.”

And here we have the age-old paradigm of a spouse not wanting to change, and the other partner trying desperately to change them. Listening to Bob’s life story helped me reflect on the two most important factors that both spouses need to keep in tension: change and acceptance. Typically, we see these two camps divided. Either we must unconditionally accept everything about the other person, or we can’t accept anything about them and it becomes our mission to conform them to our own image. But really, neither has to be exclusively true. In my own marriage, I’ve learned it’s best to keep these two sides running parallel to each other and asking God for discernment and wisdom to know when to employ each one.

Bob had his heels dug into the ground and wouldn’t move. He was not letting marriage change him. But we must go into marriage expecting and desiring to be changed. God uses it as a means for holiness in our lives. Both husband and wife must listen to each other and always consider (even seek out) the other’s viewpoint and advice. When we seek ways to grow and change for the glory of God and the good of another, our marriage will prosper.

Read the rest at For the Church >>

Advertisements

Mourning the Death that Change Brings

I couldn’t wait to marry my husband. Most of our relationship had been long distance, and I wanted to be with him all the time. But after the wedding, I had to move from Orlando to Philadelphia. I left all my friends, family, a church I loved, and a well-established life of fourteen years.

Though I was happy to be with my husband, I was also very unhappy with my new life. I cried a lot. I cried when city life and marriage struggles got overwhelming. I cried thinking about the father-daughter dance at my wedding and how I had left those whom I was closest to. I cried because I had no friends, except my husband. And I had never suffered a shortage of friends in Florida.

I became a different person in Philadelphia. I was always so outgoing, and I suddenly grew more reserved and quiet around my husband’s friends and acquaintances. At the time, I didn’t stop and process or even admit something was wrong with me. I just tried to get through the unacknowledged struggle. It wasn’t until five years into my marriage that I could look back and see what had taken place. And I realize now that it was a death and resurrection.

Read the rest at Revive Our Hearts >>

Bon Iver and the Sounds of Change

“Skinny Love” and “Re: Stacks” were some of my favorite Bon Iver songs in my early twenties. Back then I prided myself on knowing about a band before they went mainstream, and I hung out with a like-minded group of friends who were mainly interested in music, film, literature, and art. Recently I turned 30 and developed a growing nostalgia for the “cool me.” At home with a preschooler and toddler, art revolves around paper plates and popsicle sticks. And while I’m behind on my music game, I’m on point with Elmo, Daniel Tiger, and PAW Patrol.

My role as a wife and mom has changed me significantly, so I can relate to the significant change in Bon Iver’s sound on the new album, 22, A Million. I was a different person in my single, early twenties. Though parts of that person are still in me, I’ll never be able to completely recreate my old self, because change has progressively moved me forward. As we are entering the fall season, with leaves changing to yellow, red, and brown, I’m reminded that change brings a form of death to us. Christians see an echo of Jesus in the way the leaf must first die and fall before we get to the resurrected buds of spring. With 22, A Million, Bon Iver similarly shows us how change is a necessary progression forward.

Read the rest at Think Christian >>