Today I am excited to start sharing the experiences and wisdom of you, dear readers. Below you will find EMM's first guest post!
* * * * *
When my husband and I were dating we were children. Not literally mind you, but in the grand scheme of things we were still children at 14 and 16 years old. We had limitless ideas for our future, even if those around us looked on with concern that our young hearts would only find disappointment. Sixty percent. Those were the odds of our marriage failing miserably and ending in divorce. Getting married at 18 and 20 years old is a terrifying prospect to an outsider’s eyes, and who could blame them? We had no real life experience and we certainly weren’t done maturing.
When my husband and I were dating it was my dream come true. I’ve always been a sucker for a romance. I watched my father lavish my mom with love and presents at Valentine’s day, birthdays, and anniversaries. That’s what I wanted. Period. A man to show me the same love and respect that Dad showed Mom. So when I met a boy who lavished me with love, surprises, and gifts I was excited for the future. I was anticipating more adventures, flowers, and memories that outdid anything he ever did while dating me.
I’m sorry to say that I was disappointed with the reality of my marriage after the first year. One reason was because my husband always wanted to outdo himself and he put too much pressure on himself. Another reason was our visions of what marriage looked like. In his mind he had courted me and had me. So why did he need to do more? His parents never did those small things for one another that I always saw my parents doing. He had no idea that I was hoping and expecting to get those things.
It all came to a head on our first anniversary. I had thoughtfully prepared and planned. I found the perfect card and waited excitedly to present him with it as I received mine. When I discovered he had nothing - no card, no flowers, no presents, no special dinner - I was crushed. I had hoped for a special thank you for cooking all his meals, doing all his laundry, waiting for him to come to bed at 2am, and never seeing him until the next day. There was nothing. I felt unloved. I felt used. I felt betrayed. My husband felt like a jerk.
Each year I had hoped he learned his lesson, and he tried so hard to make up for what he didn’t do that first year. Even today there is a wound across my heart that will never be completely healed. And this my friend is what I have learned through my 12 years of marriage and what God wanted me to write about. FORGIVENESS. While there may still be a part of my heart that still hurts when he doesn’t do these small gestures I know that he is still a good man.I know that I need to accept him for who he is. I need to appreciate and focus on the little things he does do instead. Forgiveness is a process. It’s like I tell my students; “learning is a process, not an event.” It takes some time and a bit of work, but it is so healing when we do it.
Love is inseparable from sacrifice. I had to forgive my husband and sacrifice my dreams for a short time to build my own love story. While my love story isn’t the one I had anticipated, that sacrifice has grown my marriage. It has shown me that my initial dream was limiting the view I had of my husband. By sacrificing this dream, I was forced to look for other ways my husband showed me love. I had to forgive him each time he forgot or screwed up because he waited too long. God has shown me that love, true love, is unconditional. It’s not based on cards, candy, flowers or romantic dinners. It’s choosing to love regardless of fault. It’s choosing to see the good in someone despite their flaws. It’s choosing to see that my husband shows love in a way different from what I wanted or expected.
Love is my husband working full time to provide for his family. Love is my husband going to school on top of being a dad so he can take better care of us. Love is my husband sacrificing sleep by caring for our daughter so that I can have some instead. Love is my husband telling me how beautiful I am each day in a way that I believe it without a doubt in my mind. Love is my husband teasing me for stealing the last brownie that he had secretly hoped to have himself. Love is me forgiving him and appreciating the wonderful way God created him. Love is me praying for him and thanking God for his special one of a kind creation that is my husband.
Am I guiltless? Am I perfect? Please. I never have been and I never will be. My husband has had to forgive my shortcomings too.. The amazing thing is that I have a husband who loves me anyway and forgives me in return. Above all, I have a God who loves me more. I am so glad God works everything together for our good.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:28
Pam Hunter is an educator, wife, mother, wonderful friend, and has a heart for God. Married young, she knows first hand the importance of growing and maturing together in marriage. As a guest contributor she has immense knowledge and wisdom to share with you!