Marriage is a beautiful relationship. There are aspects to it that have dramatically changed my life. Through marriage I have experienced excruciating pain, deep sorrow, and a hopelessness that destroys the soul. However, through marriage I have also experienced incredible love, amazing grace, and a level of intimacy I didn’t know existed.
Marriage is both hard and the best thing I have ever done.
Through my 9.5 years of marriage, I have experienced the awesome power of being refined. Which is hilarious given that my perspective of myself when I first became a wife was that I was close to perfect. I saw my husband’s faults almost right away...but it took years to really see the areas of my heart that needed improvement. And I am still learning every day.
I have grown from a young wife who wrestled with jealousy, manipulation, selfishness, impatience, and more...to a wife who lives with understanding, grace, an ability to forgive, an ability to see my husband’s needs and fulfill them. Again, I am still learning and growing. One of the most important things that I have grown to live with is a humility that is necessary for marriage. Without the hard, bad, ugly...and all the good...I don’t think I would be the woman I am today, the woman I am still becoming.
My husband has taught me things and has been the influence for positive change in my life. And I have been that for him.
Marriage is refining, if we let it be.
Our first few years of marriage were challenging. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a lot of pride hindering me from helping my marriage grow stronger. I wasn’t willing to let my relationship with my husband refine us. Instead, I placed the blame and pointed my finger, eager to show my husband where he needed to improve. I regret this hard stance I had. But I am so grateful that God cared enough for me to reveal to me my own sin and how I needed to grow. I share more in depth about the refining power of marriage in my book The Unveiled Wife if you want to understand more about my journey to embrace being refined as a wife.
The important thing to know is that marriage is refining, if we let it be. This requires a heart of humility.
The same is true for parenting.
When I first became a mom, I seriously thought I was going to be perfect at it. I had all the experience one would need to be a great mom. I was the second oldest of 7, I started babysitting at a young age with my siblings, then my nieces and nephew, and then other neighborhood kids, I worked in the preschool for 7 years, and I worked at a camp during the summer with many different ages of kids. My point is that I thought I knew what there is to know. Then I had my first baby. My world flipped upside down. I let anxiety rule my heart. Just coping through each day was a challenge.
As my son got older, and still to this day, there are moments that parenting reflects a part of myself that I know needs work. When my patience is tested, when my selfishness rears its head, when my son talks back and I want to ask where did you learn that?! But I don’t have to, because my next thought is…
“Oh, that was so me!”
My son is a reflection of who I am. He imitates me. Sometimes the good and the sweet...other times the irritable and cranky.
My kids show me where I need to grow. And there is an extraordinary power in this relationship with my kids to make me a better mom, a better woman, if I let it. Again, this requires humility. This requires me to truly see, to listen, to take time to evaluate my heart and my actions, then repent when sin is present.
Prayer has kept humility in my heart and has helped me fight against those areas of selfishness. Asking God to help me, to heal me, to transform me, has given me strength and wisdom to make positive change in my life. I could not have embraced the power of being refined through marriage and parenting if it weren’t for the Lord. He has revealed so much to me and continues to each day.
If you want to grow as a wife, mom, woman, then I urge you to grow closer to God, to live with humility, to repent of sin, and to pray daily. When we allow these relationships to influence us for the better, we can look back over the years and see our transformation. This should make us feel good, feel hopeful, and feel empowered for our future.
As you embrace your relationships with God, your husband, and your child(ren), let it all change you for the better!
Jennifer Smith Unveiledwife.com