06 April 2011

marriage as growth

being married for even a few months has shown me that marriage is no walk in the park (unless it happens to be jurassic park, as a forwarded sms noted!). while i chose the following vows prior to getting married,
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements...

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole...

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage...[mari nichols, 'why marriage?']
i cannot say that since then, i've done a very good job of taking care of myself, of not depending on H for my happiness and emotional well being. (i'd like to say that moving to a new country surely allows me some leeway here, but five months on, that rings a little hollow..)

i read some stuff today that renewed my resolve to work harder at being a better person, a happier person, and hopefully, in the process, a better spouse:
“Marriage is not designed to make us happy. What makes you happy is way too vague and elusive. What makes you happy changes with the seasons and the stages in life. And often, once you obtain whatever it is that would make you happy, it’s short lived and fleeting. If I define my life and live my life only by what makes me happy – I’m going to harm a lot of people along the way.”

“Marriage is designed for one thing: growth.” [http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2009/11/the-best-marriage-advice-you-ever-got/comment-page-1/#comment-4773]

The best marriage advice I ever received was from my counselor….it was that you cannot change your spouse. You can change yourself, which will indirectly change your spouse. It’s hard to change yourself. It’s hard to look inward. It’s hard to get past the ego and see the raw ugly truth about yourself. You have to be patient with yourself. But once you see it….you can do something about it. And once you do something about it, everyone else around you seems to change.[http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2009/11/the-best-marriage-advice-you-ever-got/comment-page-1/#comment-4751]

Why can I confidently say that marriage is worth it? Because... there is more to learn about ourselves than we could have ever dared imagine back when we were first single... I hope that the years that I am married serve as the refining fire I believe God intends them to be, molding and shaping me into someone who is more like Jesus than she was before.

I mean, really, in the Bible, God compares a marriage relationship to that of Jesus’ relationship with us for a reason. Because it is amazingly similar. Believers are referred to as “the bride of Christ.” We are lovely, loved and chosen, both as wives and as believers, to enter into a love relationship. And then what do we do? Show our admiration and appreciation by loving Jesus, and our husbands, flawlessly in return? Um, not. We flounder around, cause pain to our Beloved, make hurtful remarks and love imperfectly. And our spouses return the favor, loving us imperfectly, too. Showing us their flaws and weaknesses. And we have the chance to turn away in anger, rejecting our spouses, or to do what Christ does with us: Keep on loving anyway. The way God loves us all, no matter what, is such an inspiration in my own marriage. [http://mycharmingkids.net/2011/01/marriage-is-really-really-hard-work/]
and, of course, there is the islamic concept that engaging in any behaviour with the aim of pleasing allah is akin to worship. these will all be my new guides to personal growth, and inshallah, a strong and happy marriage! if you have any other tips, i'm all ears (or eyes)!

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