Written by Bethany Jarmul
When my husband (Josh) and I were planning our wedding everyone asked us a million questions – When’s the big day? What color are your bridesmaid dresses? What kind of flowers are in your bouquet? But after getting married, we only get asked one question: “How’s married life?”
I’d like to answer this question through sharing six things that I’ve learned during our first seven months of marriage.
- Loving someone means ACTUALLY putting their needs and wants before yours.
I’m not a naturally neat and tidy person. I like to think of my messiness as proof of my creativity (but sometimes it’s just laziness.) My husband likes when the bed is made, the dishes are washed, and there’s nothing on the living room floor. I’m slowly learning that loving him means cleaning up. It never feels “good” to wash dishes, but love means doing it anyway.
- Having married friends who love God is really important.
Josh and I are blessed to be a part of an amazing Life Group of married couples. These couples have made a huge impact on our lives. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” It’s vitally important to surround yourself with people that will encourage you in your marriage and in your relationship with God.
- Serving together strengthens your marriage.
Recently, we have started serving together – something very simple – greeting at the sanctuary doors on Sunday mornings. I discovered that my introverted husband turns into a very friendly man when he’s at the doors. When I asked him about it, he said, “I want to be so friendly that people want to come back to church.” He’d never looked so attractive to me. Serving God together has a way of bringing you together.
- Happiness is not the goal of marriage.
Am I happy in my marriage? Absolutely! At our wedding many people commented that we were the happiest newly weds that they’d ever seen. (Maybe some of that was because we knew what would happen later that night!)
The truth is, however, happiness is not the goal of marriage. That’s not why God designed it. Yes, God wants us to be happy, but more than that he wants us to be holy. There are days when my marriage doesn’t bring me happiness, and that’s okay! My joy is found in Christ alone! Marriage is more about the process of dying to ourselves than it is about getting all that we desire. It’s more about entering the spiritual battle together and less about finding a safe place of marital bliss.
- Others are watching how you live out your marriage.
As Paul tells us in Ephesians 5, ultimately, marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill! Christ died for us. That kind of sacrificial love is what our marriages are supposed to radiate.
When others see the way that Josh and I interact with one another, when they see the kinds of decisions we make with what we say, with how we use our time, and with our finances… I want them to be pointed to Jesus.
Our marriage is certainly not perfect. But as we seek to honor God, we can be used for God’s glory, even when we mess up.
- Marriage isn’t everything.
We can have a happy, loving marriage and still be missing out on the most important thing in life: following Jesus. In fact, marriage can become an idol, distracting us from all that God has planned for our lives.
Francis Chan, in You and Me Forever, writes,“We have better things to pursue than our interests. Too much is at stake! God created us for a purpose. We can’t afford to waste our lives. We can’t afford to waste our marriage by merely pursuing our own happiness.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m convicted by this statement! Too often, I live my life based on what I want or how I feel. But, my goal is to live my life in a way that is not me-centered, not marriage-centered, but God-centered.
Bethany Jarmul serves as the Public Relations Director for Allison Park Church and Reach Northeast. Besides spending time with her husband, she enjoys reading sci-fi and fantasy books, watching crime shows, and singing terribly off-key.