Marriage: Mission Possible
Today Rowan and Mara of Couple Things will be sharing their Marriage: Mission Possible . . .
If there was only one thing from the story of your marriage that you could share, what would it be? What lesson learned, revelation, heart change or profound moment is a testament to God’s plan for marriage?
Rowan and Mara say…
Reaching back to the time before we were married, I (Rowan) recall something Mara said to me, and my subsequent revelation – the ramifications of which still affect me and our marriage today, almost 18 years later.
I’m from a conservative background spiritually (Baptist) and my soon-wife-to-be and her family were on the opposite end of the spectrum. They were Pentecostal/ Charismatic, or if those terms don’t work for you, they were VERY real and expressive about their relationship with God.
Now I knew, from my lifetime of Bible Study, that I was more right in my theology than her (LOL) but I couldn’t argue the fact that she was far happier than I. And that bugged me! Our spiritual differences led to our fair share of debates and arguments during our dating years.
Then one day she said to me, “Rowan, we can go to whatever church you want, you know, I will follow you and be happy there.” In that moment the significance of what it means to lead or influence someone in life hit me like a ton a bricks.
Here she was, the most amazing woman I’d ever met, willing to choose my direction spiritually and follow my lead. Truth be known, it was my stubbornness and opinionated nature that was holding me back from joining her church. And yet, she was willing to be influenced by that! I saw the raw responsibility of what it means to have someone love me that much – and I haven’t been the same since.
Shortly after that, I decided to lay down my stubbornness and had an encounter with God that changed me spiritually. Since then and all our married lives we’ve been on the same page in this area. But I owe that, and countless other ways I’ve been motivated to lead “us” well, to the revelation I got that day. (More about this in our blog post: “Lead Your Life.”)
My take-away? You are the single most important influence in your spouse’s life. There is no one able to bring them joy or pain, romance orregret, love or tears, like you can. No one. And they chose you. Doesn’t that make you want to lead well? It still does for me.
Before we were married, I (Mara) thought I would be really good at letting Rowan be who he was, until I married him! Then I found myself (needlessly) embarrassed by his decisions, or by the things he would say. I would catch myself trying to explain away how he came across to family and friends, or worse, correcting what he’d say in front of other people.
Needless to say this wasn’t good for our relationship. It’s really hard to respect your husband while you’re trying to reform him.
I sure didn’t like what I was becoming, and how it was affecting our marriage. I came to see that I needed to change by belief from “I am here to change him,” to “I am here to believe the best about who he is.” (More about this in our blog post “Get Over It.”) Ironically, when I finally let go and let Rowan be Rowan, he stopped saying the wrong things and making embarrassing decisions!
It’s humbling to realize you’re not always right when you think you know what/who your spouse should become. As a woman you marry and sign up for a life-time of nurturing someone else’s life; and in that crucible God refines who you are, knowing you will need changing as much as he will.
My take away? In the myriad of admirations, annoyances and challenges that married life provides is God’s design for our own character development, and ultimate happiness. Still think you’re obligated to change your husband? Let me encourage you, let go.
Now almost 18 years into their own marriage adventure Rowan and Mara coach, blog and live a conviction that any couple’s love and marriage can keep getting greater over time. They believe in 4 central principles that guide their message. Rowan and Mara live with their two daughters in Calgary, AB, Canada. In addition to their work with couples and small business ownership, they are the lead pastors of Gateway Victory Church.
You can find more of their work and connect with them at Couple Things Blog.