When I got married just over eight years ago, I thought I was close to perfect. In fact, shortly after the wedding, I questioned who it was I had married. I thought I knew my husband well, but when conflict rose up, I could only assume it was because of him.
Because I was close to perfect.
I knew I had room to improve in some areas, however, I could not comprehend the ways I was contributing to the conflict.
It must have been all his fault!
Over the years I have learned a few things, including how I am not as perfect as I thought I was. At first, this realization infuriated and disgusted me, an image of myself I did not want to accept. Then God showed me that He was using my marriage to make me better. He was using my relationship with my husband to confront the heart issues that instigated conflict so that I could be aware of them and make a decision to change.
I am thankful for my marriage. Although the road has been extremely challenging, it has made me a better woman and a much better wife. In my new book coming out this spring, The Unveiled Wife, I share about my journey of God using my marriage to refine me. I specifically cover how unmet expectations, imperfections, and insecurities were all areas of my heart that were not perfect, but that by God’s grace, I grew in! And because I allowed God into my heart to change me, I was able to embrace true intimacy in my relationship with Him and with my husband.
The first few years of marriage were difficult and joyful simultaneously as I encountered the refining and growing process. And in many ways, God is still using my marriage to inspire positive change in my life.
The funny thing is once I moved beyond the disheartening truth that I had so much need of transformation in my life and accepting the constant testing of my faith, I believed my husband and I entered into a season of "good." I was more comfortable accepting my faults and choosing growth...but then something happened...I got pregnant and had my first baby!
As I was thrown into the realm of motherhood, I quickly realized that my little bundle of joy was testing me and making me confront heart issues just as my husband had when we entered marriage. My eyes were opened to the areas of my life that were in desperate need of transformation.
As a new mom I wrestled with impatience, selfishness, wanting fairness, feeling inadequate, and again, expectations! God was using my relationship with my son to draw out of me parts of my heart that were unrighteous, so that God could graciously fill me with His character traits.
Now, as I have approached another season of "good"...where it seems as though things are going smoothly with our family and with each of us individually...I am months away from giving birth to our second child...yet another opportunity for God to refine me and make me better.
I believe God values familes and He created them for a great purpose. I have no doubt that He will continue to use my marriage and my role as a parent to mature my character and become more like Him. The challenge is whether I will resist these opportunities and fight to keep my illusion of perfection, or humbly embrace the opportunities that will insist on my heart and character to grow toward perfection, toward becoming more like Christ.
And you my friend have the same challenge to face! What will you choose?
- Jennifer Smith Unveiledwife.com