Marital Bliss—Interrupted

Editor’s Note: A couple of months ago, GLOW interview good friend Amanda about her wedding and upcoming mission adventures to Africa (click here). Today, she’s back with an update on marriage – the ups, downs and realities that come with the newlywed stage. Amanda’s perspective points straight to Christ – she and Drew have actively chosen grace above selfishness, reflecting Christ’s character. Whether you are married, single or widowed, this post relates to all.

A little over two months into marriage, and I am living my life as a VERY happy newlywed.  I am overwhelmed with thankfulness about this new journey I get to set out on with my best friend, Drew West; however, even during the honeymoon stage, there are moments that are far from blissful, and yet we have to continue to be thankful, and know that marriage is deeply about refinement as much as or more as it is about romance (though I believe both are important).

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Photo Credit: Alyssa Martin Photo

I remember about 6 months into our dating life, and Drew and I sat together wondering if we would ever have a fight.  Well I am here to say YES! My suspicions were correct and we have had our share of conflict and disagreements since then.  Interestingly enough it seems as if those conflicts have actually intensified with the beginnings of marriage.  As we transition to living so closely and so vulnerably, I have seen things come out in me that I never knew were there! It’s like marriage has been an opportunity for Drew and I to see one another through a microscope.  We are learning to know one another, sometimes even better than we even know our own selves.  And yet at the same time, we made a promise to stay—no matter what we see, no matter what we find out we will stay. A promise like that sounds very beautiful, and pretty CRAZY if you ask me.

I am so amazed every time I freak out, or get caught up in all of the crazy things happening inside and around me, Drew has sought to respond to me with ridiculous amounts of grace.  After I sit down and think about the ways I have reacted or taken something out on Drew, I don’t understand why he still wants to stay with me.  Sometimes it might be easier than others (neither one of us gets it right all of the time), but when we take these little opportunities to show one another grace, we experience the Gospel through our love for one another.

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Photo Credit: Stephen Flanscha

The crazy part is, before Drew and I set out to love one another in this way, the God of the entire universe set out to love both of us in this way.  We can’t even understand what it is like to give grace before we have received grace.  God sees each of us in our deepest and darkest places, and yet He still chooses us, pursues us, and prays for us every single moment of every single day.

I found this idea put beautifully the other day in Hosea 14: 4-6:

“I will heal their waywardness

            And love them freely

            For my anger has turned away from them.

I will be like dew to Israel

            He will blossom like a Lily

Like a cedar of Lebanon

            He will send down his roots;

His young shoots will grow.

His splendor will be like an olive tree

            His fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.”

This is overwhelming.  It is God’s heart when we turn away not only to punish us when we need it, but also it brings home the idea that ultimately He is a God of healing, reconciliation, and beauty.  Though this passage meets Israel as they have turned away countless time, God wants to heal them, refresh them with dew, and renew them into something beautiful, fresh and thriving.  Not because they (or we) deserve it, but because He is God and remaking us gives Him glory.  He loves us a ridiculous amount, we can’t even comprehend the vastness of His love.  All we can do is stand in awe and accept the invitation to become a part of His beauty.  That is His opportunity extended to us, and I see it similarly as the opportunity Drew and I have everyday in our marriage.

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Photo Credit: Alyssa Martin Photo

Neither one of us will be everything the other one needs us to be all of the time, because we are not God.  We are two sinful humans, trying our best to reflect the love our Creator lavishes on us every single day.  Think about every single sunrise, kind word, and precious moment we experience in our lives, these things are other reflections of His love.  In marriage, Drew and I can choose grace and in turn grow from each experience, or we can seek to please ourselves, be right, and have our way.  My hope is to choose the former, though in the moment it is so much easier to choose the latter.  As a GLOW community let us spur one another on to choose grace, and reflect our Creator’s beauty.  What are you doing, or where are you struggling to reflect that beauty in your life?

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 Photo Credit: Alyssa Martin Photo

 


 

About the Author

DSC_0445Amanda West

Amanda West is a recently married woman calling the beautiful city of Denver, Colorado her temporary home as her and her husband prepare to move to Zambia, Africa in 2015 so that he can pursue a degree in theology.  She previously lived in Waco, Texas studying international studies at Baylor University and now she works as an educator at Lululemon Athletica while helping out with her husband’s youth group as often as she can.  She loves living life to the fullest, reaching out to others, and seeking to know Jesus more so she can share His light with others as often as possible.