Toby Mac said, “God is still writing your story. Quit trying to steal the pen.”
God is the Author of beauty from ashes and triumph from tragedy. He has given us a voice to share our struggles so that others might not face those same difficulties and hardships. Perhaps we can share our past struggles to give others hope who may be amid a storm. Marriage brings a wide range of beauty, difficulties, and vast uncertainties.
Here are three things I learned the hard way in marriage and pray that these lessons can be both encouragement and preparation for you in your journey.
1. Never make financial decisions on the fly.
My husband and I have almost been married ten years and are dealing with the (years later) effects of poor financial decisions. Credit card debt. School loans. Car loans. You get the point! While you may accrue debt at different points in your marriage, it’s important not to make financial decisions on the fly. We did this numerous times early on in our marriage and right when our first child arrived. We are still feeling the effects of making poor “on the fly” decisions. This can create a lot of stress within your marriage. Talk about it. Pray about it. Make a budget. Plan for it. Don’t always look for instant fixes – this can often get you into financial trouble. Trust God. Remain faithful.
Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
2. Sometimes you need to leave “work” at work.
When I was an Athletic Director, I worked a lot and was also pursuing my master’s degree. I would be at work for 10-14 hours a day (and weekends) and then get home by 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM and still be answering work emails, phone calls, and then work on homework. Unfortunately, this was a difficult time for my marriage because I never stopped. Sometimes you must pause the “work” button and focus on your family. Focus on your spouse. Spend quality time together.
3. Don’t live your life constantly in future planning mode.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a planner. I live for my to do lists and sticky notes and dream of having my own planner line in the future. While it is important to be a good steward of time, it is also important to let God intervene. Let the Holy Spirit whisper those commands and let Him be the Author of the “schedule.” The same is true for your marriage – you can’t always plan out every milestone and detail. I planned out when I wanted kids, how many kids, what kind of job I wanted, etc. and God had other plans for me and our marriage. Sometimes we need to pause our hopeful timelines and trust God to pave the way.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”
I believe we all have an ideal timeline for how things should go in our marriage. We want “X” number of kids, nice cars, a spacious and perfectly decorated house, and to never EVER bounce a check and have thousands of dollars in savings; however, life isn’t always that simple.
Marriages often face financial crisis, plans change, and work becomes all-consuming. It’s in times like this that we need to refocus and let God be the keeper of our schedule – we must be willing to pause and let Him intervene with our timelines.
Let God write your story. Don’t miss out on what’s right in front of you.