Marriage: It's Not About Me
At 41, I honestly did not think I would ever get married. Nearly a decade had passed since my last date. I chose to not worry about it though. If God wanted me to be a wife, then certainly he would send me a husband.
In early 2008, I partnered with two other singles at my church to start a small group. Our focus was to serve – each month we would put feet to our faith in our community. Our group leader gave me a ride to our first event – we would help organize the monthly clothing drive at our church’s homeless ministry The Refuge. On the way there, we chatted easily and laughed frequently. Was there a spark? “Lord, are you doing something here?” I thought.
At The Refuge, I ran into an old friend, Elizabeth. We had traveled together to Cuzco, Peru in 2004 as part of a team that distributed Evangelical literature in rural schools. At the time, we had both been single gals, but Elizabeth now wore a beautiful ring on her left hand.
“How is married life?” I asked Elizabeth. “So much has changed in your life.” Elizabeth smiled, and then she said the words that God wanted to engrave on my heart.
“Marriage is about serving my husband.” This was how Elizabeth’s spontaneous mini-sermon began. She expounded on all that she had learned as a newlywed, and I took it all in.
A few minutes later, the weekly service for the homeless began. We sat on folding chairs under a white tent in a parking lot. After some worship music, Pastor Jym invited us all to open our Bibles to Ephesians 5. He’d been preaching through the book, and his topic today was marriage. I am quite sure that my mouth must have fallen open. The Holy Spirit had my full attention.
Two days later, that nice group leader invited me to join him on what he called “an outing.” (Code word: Date) We exchanged vows a year later.
From the beginning, God’s message to me was clear. Marriage is not about me. Marriage is another way that I am called to bring glory to God, and my marching orders came on the pavement right there at the refuge: “Marriage is about serving my husband.”
Some practical ways to serve and make sure that it’s not about me include
· Praying for my husband daily
· Extending grace to my husband, rather than judgment (or nagging)
· Supporting my husband’s efforts to support our family in whatever way he asks me to
· Loving my husband’s extended family and making them feel welcome in my home.
· Encouraging my husband through purposeful verbal affirmation
· Respecting my husband’s role as the leader of our family
I am so thankful that God placed Elizabeth in my path that day. Looking back now, I see how God wanted me to understand from day one that marriage was not about me. Jesus came to serve, and as His ambassador in my home, I am called to do the same.
Check out the rest of the Not About Me November Series
Lyli Dunbar loves teaching. For 17 years, she mentored teenagers in the Christian school setting, and now she has serves as Associate Director of Curriculum at Trinity International University Florida. Lyli married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging young couples and singles in God’s waiting room. She enjoys road trips with her husband, connecting with women through Bible study, and reading way too many books. Lyli writes about life lessons and faith on herpersonal blog. You may also connect with her on Facebook,Twitter, and Pinterest.
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12/3/2013 01:27:54 am
Lyli - My husband is from Lima, Peru! I didn't know you have been to Cuzco!? We must chat in person!! :)
12/3/2013 02:40:31 am
Cuzco was beautiful, and we loved partnering with the local church there to spread the Good News. It was a life-changing experience.
12/3/2013 02:11:44 am
Beautiful, Lyli - It is true - a successful marriage is about about helping the other person. How would we learn about God's kind of love without our husband and children?
12/3/2013 02:43:38 am
Mary Leigh, thank you for stopping by here. God's love is very much what makes marriage successful, don't you think? I know I couldn't do it without His help. On hard days, I remind myself that if Jesus washes feet, then I can do the same with His help. :)
12/3/2013 02:45:31 am
Beth, wouldn't it be nice to sit down and have a nice long chat? :)
12/3/2013 03:13:55 am
Lyli - It was nice to get to know more about you. What a beautiful way for you & your husband to be brought together. This is a beautiful post. It is amazing how God weaves the fabric of lives together. Thank you for sharing!
12/3/2013 04:32:41 am
Thanks, Joanne. He truly is the Grand Weaver. :)
12/4/2013 10:02:52 pm
Stopping by from Thriving Thursdays. I think if more people - both husband and wife - thought about marriage this way, families would stay together. If each one is always putting the other first, it is truly wonderful. That's hard with the day to day grind of life, but as you say, I pray for my husband and my response to him a lot.
12/5/2013 12:37:20 pm
Steph, when we were in pre-marital counseling, the Pastor explained to us that he felt 2 essentials would help us ... the first was to pray together out loud every day... the second was to put the other person first and be willing to sacrifice and compromise.
12/5/2013 03:28:45 am
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your love story and words of wisdom. ♥
12/5/2013 12:38:37 pm
Nannette, so lovely to see you here at Missional Women! I know that you have a lot of marital wisdom to share... I am thankful for good examples. :)
12/5/2013 07:41:34 am
"Marriage is not about me. Marriage is another way that I am called to bring glory to God"
12/5/2013 12:40:33 pm
Lisa, you are such an affirmer. Thank you for your kind words. I pray that I never grow complacent in this area.... :)
The marriage of the man and the woman mirages the relationship between God and man. And man is powerful. But he is not God. God is the ruler. Man is seen by God. That is the thing.
12/6/2013 02:23:52 am
Blessings, Lyli - I do love a good love story! Such a lovely post about the true joy in marriage.
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