Friday, August 29, 2014

Reach for your suits, ladies

It's the eve of my husband's birthday. It's amazing to me to realize that this will be his 19th birthday we've celebrated together as a couple. He was 16 years old when we started dating and I remember celebrating his 17th birthday together. And I remember how absolutely infatuated I was with him. Oh, that silky blonde hair, crystal clear blue eyes, his laugh, even his braces were cute. I adored everything about him. I was only 15. I wasn't allowed to go out on dates, but my parents allowed him to take their car (he didn't have one of his own) and take me on a date so we could celebrate his birthday. We went to Red Lobster. I felt so grown up, at 15 years old. There I was, in a restaurant, with my 17 year old boyfriend who drove us there because he had a driver's license. We thought we were so fancy and I was in a love so deep. Now that we have an almost 11 year old daughter, our view on that little scenario has changed quite a bit. New view: ain't gonna happen, little girl.

Infatuation in full effect: Junior Prom
Do you remember that feeling? That infatuation? It didn't matter if you were 15, 20, 25 or older. When you first met and began spending time with your guy, there was nothing he could do wrong, right? Everything about him was adorable, sweet, understandable and attractive. And then, after some time, some of his quirks aren't so cute anymore. But then, you're engaged and planning your wedding! Awww, he's so perfect again! Then you're married and he's your new husband! So what if he leaves a trail of clothes and can't find the hamper, it's so fun to do his laundry! Who cares if he misses the toilet every time he pees, at least he tried! And then a year or two pass and his quirks aren't so adorable anymore.

5 years later, infatuated again: Engagement

Ahhhh, infatuation. God's way of helping us to fall in love with the little things and Satan's way of blinding us and then pulling back a curtain as though he played a trick on us.

"Annnnnnnd, let me introduce you to the real man you married!"

Suddenly you're blindsided.
"Really? How hard is it to put his socks in the hamper??"
"Are you kidding me? We just leave dirty dishes in the sink? The dishwasher is 6 inches away!"
"More video games? Seriously? That controller gets touched more than I do."

And the whole time, Satan is just laughing and smirking and he is quite pleased with what's happening. Because what's happening? You want to quit. You want to walk away. You start thinking about that *other* guy you dated before you met your husband. You start playing the "what if" game. "Ugh, had I just stayed with my ex, he would've never talked to me like this. He would've cherished the very ground I walk on. He would've not only put his clothes in the hamper, but he would've done his own laundry!" Then you start distancing yourself from your husband. You start shuddering at his touch. His breathing is all wrong. Did he ever snore that loud before? You try to talk to your husband about what you're feeling, but he's as confused as a kid who asked for a lollipop and was given a banana. "Huh?" He's been thinking everything is great! But you tell him you're done you can't do this anymore, you want to leave. And Satan wins.

You forgot about all those little things God showed you about your husband when you first met or when you first married. Because while God used infatuation to show you the little things about your guy, Satan used infatuation to make you feel as though you were tricked into loving this faux-fabulous man.

I speak of this, only because I've been through it. And you know what? The longer you stay together, the more often it happens.

"Wait, so you're telling me not to be with my husband for a long time because I'm going to dislike him over and over again?"

No. What I'm saying is that every aspect of our lives is involved in a spiritual battle. Especially our marriages. The spiritual battle is a very real thing and it's happening all around us all day long.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

I know what you're thinking: "great. I can barely battle against the fatigue I feel each night, how am I supposed to battle evil forces? Do I look like a Jedi?" No, you don't. At least, not without God. But you sure can look like and fight like a Jedi (or a warrior princess if you prefer). How??

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:11

Look at that. One scripture before we are told that we are going into battle, we are told to put on the armor God. Why? So we can stand firm against the devil. What's the armor of God?

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:14-17

Ok, have your armor? Let's put it on.

1. Don't forget what you love
You fell in love with many little things about your husband. It may be many years you've been married, it may be only a few years. It may be less than a year! You may still be completely in love with and infatuated with his quirky, laundry leaving ways...that's awesome! Write it down. I'm not joking. Write it down. Make a list of all the things you first loved about him, especially in that infatuation stage. Was it his laugh, even though he snorted? Was it the way he'd play a video game to unwind after a long day? Was it the way he sniffs everything before he eats it? Whatever it is, write it down. Go back to the beginning and write it down.

Why? Because when you think about your husband in that light again, it will remind you of why you fell in love with him in the first place and before you know, you'll be smiling and giggling while thinking about him. And, bonus, you now have a list to look back on when you feel yourself struggling to love him and his quirks.

2. Don't forget that you have quirks, too
Ah, humility. So we meet again. Keep in mind that while things have changed with regards to your husband's quirks, I'm sure there are many things about you that have changed, as well. Don't forget that both men and women experience infatuation. He probably didn't mind that it took you an hour to get ready to go out; now he can't stand it and wants you to speed up the process. He probably overlooked the fact that you incessantly remind him of the location of the hamper, but now he's feeling as though you are more of a mother than a wife.

There are things about you that have changed, sweet sister. Don't lose sight of humility. Feeling brave? Ask your husband to tell you what made him first fall in love with you. Take note of it and try to be that again for him.

3. PRAY & be prepared
The power of prayer is incredible. And it's part of that armor of God:

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." Ephesians 6:18

Being in God's word and being consistent in your prayer life is imperative. How can you fight a battle without first preparing? A king or a president doesn't enter his country into battle without first having prepared for it. Neither should you. Each morning you face an enemy. An enemy who is ready to take you down. Don't let him! Arm yourself with prayer, with scripture, with God. This is a battle that will be won if you let your King fight it for you. Pray. Be in your bible daily. Know scripture, memorize it, have it ready for battle.

By the time you read this, it will already be my husband's birthday. In the morning, I'll bring his coffee to him, I'll have to step over the clothes he dropped on his way to his closet, I'll have to pick up the wet towel he left on the floor and I'll have to bring down the half empty water bottles he left on his nightstand. I'll shake my head at the repetitiveness of this routine, but I'm going to smile because I remember the feeling I had when he chose to spend his life with me. I'll remember the way his once long blonde locks used to get in his eyes, and I'll remember the way I used to practice writing his name next to mine while we were dating. I'll relish in the infatuation I felt 19 years ago, because God wants me to. That's why he allows the heart to feel it.  The infatuation is something that fades over time, but the love that grows from it is meant to last a lifetime.  It's a fight to keep that love, it's a fight to remember those months of infatuation.  It's a battle.  Not against each other, but against our enemy.  

Suit up, girls...we have a battle to win.

19 years later...
July 2014



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