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Raised in a small Baptist church, when I hear the term “yoked,” I don’t think of Matthew 11:29-30. Instead, my brain automatically displays an image of a sad ox and I think about what it means to be unequally yoked. I hear the advice of so many pastors, well-meaning family friends and youth leaders – above all, do not find yourself in an unequally yoked relationship.
With this in mind, my requirements list was short. This isn’t to say I didn’t have standards; I just knew what was important. There were no height requirements on my list. No eye or hair color preferences. No overly-detailed ramblings about everything I wanted my husband to be…which for my over-analyzing, high-strung, Type-A brain was completely out of character. All I wanted was someone who loved God, had a good relationship with his mom, and worked hard. That’s it. I knew that if I found someone with these three key characteristics, I would never face the heartbreak of being unequally yoked.
More than anything, I place value in and derive purpose from my relationship with God, my family, and serving others through working hard. Cole is the complete opposite of me. In everything. Except for these three things. This is what’s brought us through so many challenges over the past 5 years and what’s made this first month of marriage such a dream.
During our pre-marital counseling, our pastor braced us for the pending reality of living together by having us make a list of rules for fighting. We completed our homework and anxiously awaited the sleepy moments we’d share each morning, as we woke in each other’s arms.
But the day to day of things has been a little different than we imaged. For this post, we each reflected on the past month and made a list of things we’ve learned. Cole is out of town for work, so we did his in a Q+A format over text.
Q: How did you know you wanted to marry me?
A: I knew I never wanted to live a life where it didn’t have you in it. I prayed for a woman like you and God put the most beautiful woman right in front of me and I gained my best friend. You always stood by my side and loved me no matter what. So all I did was listen to God and my heart and now we’re married!
Q: What was the biggest challenge before we were married?
A: I worked away our entire relationship and every minute I was gone I was counting down the days til we were together again. I drove hundreds of miles to make sure our relationship worked.
Q: What is the biggest challenge now?
A: I’m still working away but other stuff is just we do things different. Like washing clothes and cleaning but we do it together. And I’ve accepted we will always have a bunch of dogs hahaha
Q: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
A: Number one thing I have learned about being married is that I absolutely made the right decision! It’s the best part of life I’ve experienced since I’ve been alive.
Q: What’s your favorite part of being married?
A: I love waking up to my best friend!!!
Q: What’s your best marriage advice?
A: Don’t listen to others on how marriage is. It’s what you make of it and we’re making it the best!
Now you all know why I married him. He’s an angel. But seriously…he’s so good at laying on the cheese that I can’t ever stay mad at him. Even in our arguments, he ends up finding a way to make me laugh 99.9% of the time and then it’s over. For now, when he winks when I’m mad, I love it. He’s so cute and it doesn’t make me more mad. I know we’re in the Honeymoon phase. But I think if we nurture it together, it’ll not only last- but grow.
These are the lessons I’ve learned. They are a bit less sweet, and a lot more practical than my husband’s. Cole graduated high school a year early and moved to Dallas when he was 17. Over the years, he’s had many roommates. He’s paid hundreds of bills and filed taxes. He knows what to do when the garage door suddenly stops working, and he knows how to tend to a yard. I briefly had a roommate in undergrad and just recently learned how to properly make a bed, so my wife skills are sorely lacking.
In the past month, I’ve learned to share my space. My husband was gracious enough to give me the entire master closet and move his wardrobe into the other room, so that really helped. But I’ve still struggled to share the covers, bathroom counter and toothpaste – I like to keep it clean and always put the cap back on. So I got a different tube of toothpaste and now it’s fine.
I think everything I’ve learned about marriage this month can be summed up with that sentiment. When presented with an issue, make an adjustment and move past it. If you’re driving, and something flies off the back of the truck you’re tailing, do you swerve to avoid it? Do you take control of the situation, alter your course and literally steer clear or the damage? Or do you hit it dead on, simply because it landed in YOUR path?
I think marriage can be a lot like that. When our spouse throws something unexpected our way, and we’re used to taking our path…living our own life, with no regard for anyone but ourselves, it can be hard. It can be so hard to join your life with someone else’s. Everything from sharing money and making big financial decisions, to learning to sleep with the fan off. It can be overwhelming. It can be frustrating. But more than any of the things it can be – it IS the best thing that will ever happen to you if you let it be.
I think the best thing we can learn is that marriage isn’t intended to make us happy. My marriage does make me happy, but it’s intention is to make me Christ-like. As a wife, I’m called to respect my husband. I’m called to honor him, trust him, help him, and make his life better. As a husband, Cole is called to love me as he loves himself. If none of this makes sense to you and all you’re hearing is submission and craziness, let me encourage you to read Paul’s words in Ephesians 5 – and I’ll link a few devotionals that really helped us get a grasp on these issues together.
I’ve learned so much this month. And as I close, I’m overwhelmed by the thought of how blessed I am to learn how to be the best wife I can to Cole, for the rest of my life. For now, this is my greatest purpose and highest honor. To love and be loved. To know and be known. To share my heart and life with my person. One month down, forever to go.
Thanks for reading!