1st Year in retrospect

I’ve been pretty intentional about taking time to “remember” throughout this year. It was a reason I started this blog and will continue to be so. However, I’ve been waiting to write a “Yay we made it through the first year of marriage!” post until next month but I’m thinking that will be a  v e r y  l o n g  post. So I’m going to break it up and spend the next month or so periodically updating on what God has taught me about marriage and life in Christ through this year of being a Nelson. I’ve got a few categories planned and we’ll see how long it takes! So here we go,

Looking Back Part 1

When I think of marriage I think of unity. So that’s where I’ll begin. The miracle that happened when Eric and I said our vows and made a covenant with one another and God is that we became one person.  In the Gospels, there is a moment where Jesus is answering a question about divorce and quotes Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” (Mark 10:8-9).

This is most commonly thought of in the physical relationship between a husband and wife. But in all actuality, it’s all. the. time.

Paul points out in Ephesians that the husband-wife relationship is a mirror of Christ and His Church. We, as believers, are united in Christ (John 15, Ephesians 2) mimicking this two becoming one phenomenon.  And as Paul scolds in 1 Corinthians 6, we cannot behave as if we do not always possess the indwelling Spirit of God. We are not united in Christ on Sunday and separate from him every other day. In the same way, Eric and I are one person at every moment.

This greatly effects the way we live our lives. In every situation, just as we ought to be consciously living in the reality that we are one with Christ, we also ought to be living in the reality that we are united as husband and wife. That means in our decisions, in our problem-solving, in our community with other believers, in our work, in our play, and even in the inner heart battle against sin, we are one. Eric and I have learned that we need to be seeking this unity in each of these situations (and I’m sure others I have failed to include).

This has been both difficult and tremendously freeing. Difficult because as humans, we don’t want to always include someone else. I have a responsibility to Eric that I have to no one else. And when I am looking at that through ugly, sinful eyes it feels like chains. But. When I am seeing my marriage through the eyes of Christ – seeking to become less and Christ more and seeking the good of others – it is a wide open field. Eric and I have the most fun when we are united. We are on the same team and because of that we can grow, dream, play, work, and worship in a new way.

Another awesome freedom I have experienced through this unity is having another person fight the devil alongside me. There is a beautiful vulnerability in confessing sin to Eric and going to him for prayer and encouragement when I feel I am spiritually under attack. Though I continue to try to put on a face of perfection, Eric knows me so well that he can see right through it. This enables us to grow deeply together as we seek Truth together. I just love what Paul says in Romans 12 about the relationship of the Church within itself. Particularly in 15 it says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”  And we are able to truly embody that! No that is not exclusive to marriage but it has a depth I have never experienced in any other relationship apart from Christ.

Jesus knows me to my utter depths. There is nothing I can hide and yet he continues to desire closeness with me. Eric is the closest earthly relationship to that. He has seen some ugly times. And yet I still get to be his best friend and he still loves me.

Both my relationship with Christ and my marriage to Eric require a lot of intentionality. Without it, disunity and lies seep in and taint the beauty God created these relationships to be. This intentionality – keeping our brains on and not falling asleep on the battlefield – are things Eric and I have had the chance to discuss frequently throughout this first year. And we have both seen so much growth come from that.

Praise God for his creativity in the way he shows us what our relationship to him is like. So when I look at and think about Eric, I am reminded to look to and worship Jesus.