Saturday, July 02, 2016

On the Eve of your Wedding (or A Humble Mind)


While this is a letter to Miss C., it comes from thinking about the last installment of a five part series of marriage advice from 1 Peter 3:8.
...have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.  
Here are the first, second, third, and fourth posts.




Tomorrow is the day your Miss becomes Mrs. The best part of being your wedding coordinator has been getting to know you and getting to love you. I pray God's richest blessings over your marriage.

I have been writing about marriage for a little while. Well, thinking about it, making notes, writing, deleting. I'm on the “humble mind” part of the outline. It's been killing me. Really. It is probably the hardest thing about marriage – and the hardest part of my own self. I feel that as I've been working on it, I've been in a wrestling match with my husband, my idols, and my God. Truth is, I don't like it. I don't like to do it. And I'd rather avoid the subject all together.

But, it's one of the deepest keys to unity in marriage and I'm praying that God will bring it to abundant fruition in my marriage and in the lives of the women I counsel… and now I'm praying for it to be in yours as well.

Today, you believe your husband-to-be is good. He's wise, careful, brilliant, and well, just amazing. I'm not going to say that he isn't… but I just want you to be on guard for those days when you start to think he isn't. Because, there will be days when you start to look at him as if he is a stranger.

He won't love the kids as much as you do. He won't serve you as much as you serve him. He won't put in enough effort, or support, or even interest. He'll make stupid mistakes. He'll be incapable of a menial task. He'll be irresponsible and unthoughtful. He'll be arrogant and condescending.  He will fully believe something you know is crazy.

How.  

Dare.  

He.

And your mind will go to war. Your thoughts will spin off into keeping a record of wrongs so sharp it will prick your heart. You will bleed out bitterness, anger, and blame.

You will forget how you can be careless and lazy. You will ignore your sharp tongue, your judgmental eyerolls. You will not even think about your over spending and your over eating. You will be so focused on his faults, yours will just fade to a blur.

And in that moment… while you're so sure he is a monster and you are a saint, your only hope will be humility.

Laughter, forgiveness, kindness… they are amazing… but they are also all rooted in the humility of your mind. If you walk around thinking that you are better than your spouse, your laughter will be mean. Your forgiveness will be shallow. Your kindness will be bribery.

The truth is, he'll mess up. And you'll mess up on something else. He'll want to spend money on something that blows your mind (not in a good way), and you'll want to buy something he thinks is frivolous. He'll ask you to do things you don't want to do and he'll go places with you he doesn't want to go. He'll be really great at vacuuming and ignore the dishes. You'll be great at washing dishes and neither of you will dust. He'll say mean things and you'll shoot daggers with your eyes.

That's the deal. The better and worse part. He won't be perfect and you won't be perfect.

In 1 Peter 3:8, we're told to have a humble mind… such a sweet gift for your husband.

To remember that you are both flawed… that you are both in this thing together. To not let your mind measure only the bad things about him. To not talk about his weaknesses as if they are the only thing that defines him. To not keep tally marks of how he is falling short.

It's an every-day-decision, this love thing. It's a moment-by-moment decision, this humility thing.

I hope you have so much fun today with your bridal party. I hope the rehearsal goes as smooth as my lists say it should. I hope that when you put your wedding dress on for real tomorrow, your heart overflows with love for your groom.

I love being married. I love working through the nitty-gritty sweetness of two-becoming-one. And I hope you love it, too. I hope that your marriage is full lots of laughter, sweet memories, and growing old together. And I hope you don't settle for a marriage that is surviving. I hope your marriage thrives.

With deepest love and congratulations,
April




...We must say to ourselves something like this: 'Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn't think "I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me." No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us - denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him - and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they are doing." 
He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely. That is why I am going to love my spouse.' 
Speak to your heart like that, and then fulfill the promises you made on your wedding day.”




So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
- Philippians 2:1-8




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