Encouragement for Newlyweds

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Everyone can use a little encouragement now and then so whether you just got married (congrats!) or you’ve been married for a long time stay tuned for today’s episode! After all, don’t we all want to have the newlywed exuberance, excitement, and love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

Our desire is that today’s Marriage After God podcast helps you quickly realize what your marriage is actually about so you can start your marriage off with an eternal perspective. If you know any newlyweds or soon to be newlyweds please share this episode with them so that they might be encouraged and blessed!

READ TRANSCRIPT

Aaron:
Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

Jennifer:
Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

Aaron:
Today we’re going to share some encouragements for newlyweds.

Aaron:
Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.

Jennifer:
I’m Jennifer, also known as unveiled wife.

Aaron:
And I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.

Jennifer:
We’ve been married for over a decade

Aaron:
And so far we have four young children.

Jennifer:
We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.

Aaron:
With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.

Jennifer:
We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life-

Aaron:
Love-

Jennifer:
And power-

Aaron:
That can only be found by chasing after God-

Jennifer:
Together.

Aaron:
Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.

Jennifer:
This is Marriage After God.

Jennifer:
Hey everyone, thanks for joining us this week. Aaron and I would love to invite you guys to leave us a review for the Marriage After God podcast. This is just one way that Aaron and I get encouraged but also for other people to find the Marriage After God podcast because once you leave that review, whether it’s a star rating review or a comment review it helps kind of get the word out about Marriage After God.

Aaron:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It actually helps the rankings of the episode and the show so that other people can find it that are looking for marriage podcasts or advice podcasts for faith and life and marriage. Leaving us a star rating and review just helps that happen.

Aaron:
We also want to invite you to join our 31 day marriage prayer challenge. It’s free, completely free, actually. All you got to do is go to MarriagePrayerChallenge.com, choose your challenge, either for the wife or for the husband, and you’ll start getting an email every day for the next 30 days with a prompt and a reminder for something to pray for your spouse. It’s actually a really cool thing. We set this up to encourage prayer in marriage and we just hope you give that … it’s MarriagePrayerChallenge.com. It’s completely free. Go sign up today.

Jennifer:
Okay, so even though this episode is titled “Encouragements for Newlyweds” I want everyone to hang tight because this is really an encouragement for all married couples. All of us can benefit from being reminded, inspired and encouraged in these things that we’re going to talk about today. No matter if you’ve been married a few days which, by the way, if you are congratulations to all you newlyweds out there. We’re so excited for you guys. Whether you’ve been married a couple days or a couple weeks or years it applies.

Aaron:
It’s perspective.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
We’re newly married 12 years now. It really is perspective, though.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
Don’t we all want to have a newlywed exuberance?

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron:
And excitement?

Jennifer:
And love?

Aaron:
Yeah and also I’m sure all of you know someone who is about to get married or has just been married-

Jennifer:
You better share this with them.

Aaron:
Share this episode. We have some scriptures and we just want to talk about just some main points that newlyweds can wrap their hearts and minds around to just help them quickly recognize what their marriage is about because the honeymoon phase, it can go away quickly. All of those emotions and the excitement, when real life kicks in it’s like, “Ugh, what’s going on?” And a lot of people, we had the same problem-

Jennifer:
I was going to say or struggles, immediate struggles kick in.

Aaron:
Yeah and so we can mature quicker if we want to and that’s kind of what this is, is like, “Hey like’s think rightly quicker.”

Jennifer:
kay so if you guys joined us for our last handful of episodes you know that they were really scripture heavy. This episode’s going to be a little bit lighter on the scripture but we’re still going to start with scripture-

Aaron:
Which is like reading the whole entire Bible, “It’s going to be light on scripture.”

Jennifer:
But I just wanted to start with Ecclesiastes 4 9-12 and this has always been one of those verses that we started out our marriage on and so I thought it would be an encouragement for other newlyweds to hear this but it’s:

Jennifer:
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together they keep warm but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Aaron:
Yeah and what this is really saying is when you get married and you start sharing a bed for the first time you’re going to be really hot because your spouse is just like a heater and they’re going to be on top of you and you’re like, “I just need some space.” I’m just kidding. That’s not at all what this is talking about. This is in Ecclesiastes, the wisest man that ever lived, was just talking about the reality that two is better than one.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
They have a better return for their labor, like have you ever worked by yourself and then had someone help you work? It’s like, way better. The picture that we’re seeing here in marriage is yes, together you’re better. If you think that way, if you recognize that truth and then you’re even more powerful when you do it the way God wants you to when Christ is in the center. Everyone always says that, like “A Christ centered marriage” but it’s a threefold strand. It’s you, your spouse and Christ and you are woven together for one purpose and that cord is not easily broken as long as you stay woven together.

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). What I love about these verses, too, is that even though it’s talking about “He who falls” or “How can one keep warm alone?” Those are physical things but in the emotional sense, maybe for the wives listening this is an encouragement but when you have a spouse it’s so comforting and encouraging knowing that you’re not alone. Knowing that you have someone that God has given you as a gift-

Aaron:
I actually thank God often that I’m not dating anymore and that I didn’t ever have to, really. I deeply thank God that I have a spouse that I can call mine and that I can work [inaudible 00:06:27], love and grow with. Yeah, you’re right. The fact that I just have someone with me is amazing.

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay so and then you wanted to share this next scripture.

Aaron:
First Corinthians 13, it’s, I hate to say that it’s cliché. It’s only cliché because people have used it that way but the power that’s in this verse is unmatched when you recognize what it’s saying. It says:

Aaron:
“Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It is not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies they will pass away. As for tongues they will cease. As for knowledge it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part but when the perfect comes the partial will pass away. When I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face, now in part then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. Son of faith, hope and love. Abide these three but the greatest of these is love.”

Aaron:
Just going through this list you can quickly find out when you’re not being loving.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
I’m irritable. “You’re not loving me.” “Oh.” I’m arrogant. “You’re not loving me.” “Oh.”

Jennifer:
Keeping a recording of wrong. “You’re not loving me.”

Aaron:
“That was really rude. That wasn’t loving.” You can replace all these things. “It does not rejoice at wrongdoing,” this is a huge thing. I think in the beginning of our marriage, I don’t think, I know, we allowed each other specifically in finances to spend a certain way knowing that it would allow us to get our own way. Knowing that we were trying to get out of debt and we were trying to be good stewards essentially we were rejoicing at wrongdoing.

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron:
I was rejoicing and like, “Hey, if my wife goes and has this freedom to splurge she won’t be able to tell me no” and then you would do the same thing and it was such a-

Jennifer:
I let you have your thing so that I could have mine, yeah.

Aaron:
That’s rejoicing in wrongdoing. Rather we should rejoice in truth. “Love rejoices in the truth” and what that means is like, even if I want something I’m going to say, “I do want this thing but it’s not right and you shouldn’t either.” We’re actually going to stand for something. So having this list just going back to it and not just saying like, “Oh, love is patient and kind” but like, recognizing like, “Wow, this is truly what love should look like in our home. That it’s not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude or selfish-“

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) what about that verse eight? It says, “Love never ends.” How can you explain that one when so many people think that love is a feeling, right? Let’s say even for newlyweds I think that feeling of love can fade when they’re faced with struggle or whatever fill in the blank. Or even you’ve been married for 25 years. How do you explain that? “Love never ends.”

Aaron:
Well I would say apart from me feeling like I’m in love, love itself, like God is love is what the Bible tells us. God doesn’t end. Whether or not I’m loving or lovable, right, doesn’t change the fact that love works and love is right and love is all of these things. All of these things are still true even though I’m false. Love doesn’t change, doesn’t end, love can’t be redefined. What this says love is is what love is.

Jennifer:
You have to choose it.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
You have to choose to walk this out in your marriage.

Aaron:
What’s awesome is when you want to it’s there.

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron:
Right? Especially with the holy spirit. Only in the holy spirit, I should say, you can actually walk in love. For the newlyweds and for us remembering what love is so that we can recognize easily and quickly when we’re not loving.

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) and becoming familiar with what love is and what it looks like in marriage.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
Because those earlier years you’re learning, right? You’re trying to understand what that looks like.

Aaron:
I want to highlight one more thing. So, “Love never ends,” as men and women, as people, as humans. With the holy spirit in us. The Bible tells us to think on Heavenly things, think on things that are above not just on things that are on the Earth. We actually have a eternal perspective. What we’re learning to do now, how I’m learning to love my wife, love my children, with this definition of love is an eternal thing because it doesn’t end. This is how we’re going to be in Heaven with other believers and with God-

Jennifer:
God is love and he’s eternal.

Aaron:
Yeah, he’s eternal-

Jennifer:
That’s a really cool vision.

Aaron:
Faith and hope are going to pass away because my hope in Christ and my hope in the future and my hope in Heaven, once I’m there it’s no longer necessary. My faith in God and in Christ and in our future redemption is no longer necessary-

Jennifer:
Because you’re there.

Aaron:
Because we’re there. Guess what? Love remains. So we will be there with the perfect love, God. Now we practice with eternity in perspective.

Jennifer:
I love that. Those are some of our just, I guess, marriage verses.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
We’ve clung onto those ones throughout our 12 years of marriage. We both really love those verses but now we’re going to get into some encouragements for all of you who are married. The first one is just knowing that you and your spouse are one. There were two of you at one point-

Aaron:
And now there’s one of you.

Jennifer:
But now there’s one of you and that’s a new thing, right? It’s a new creation.

Aaron:
You’re a new creation and a spiritual analogy is when we get saved we are a new creation, right? We become one with Christ, we become one with the spirit. We are a new creation. The picture of marriage is a symbol of that. When you get married two flesh become one flesh.

Jennifer:
Yeah, God mentions that in Genesis 2 24, right in the beginning.

Aaron:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) it says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one.”

Aaron:
Hey Marriage After God friends, I wanted to take a short 30 second break from today’s topic to thank you. Thank you for your continued faithfulness and listening each and every week. Jennifer and I have often shared with you about how important prayer is in the life of a believer. It’s so important, in fact, that we’re told this in First Thessalonians: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God and Christ Jesus for you.” It is God’s will for us to pray and we want to inspire you to begin praying for your spouse and marriage every day. This world hates marriage and so does our enemy because he knows the power that your marriage is meant to have in this world. He knows that if you and your spouse are praying and chasing boldly after God together that the impact Christ will have in and through you will be powerful. We need to be praying more than ever before. Our heart is to encourage you along with everyone who listens to this show to be praying for your spouses and your marriages to be strengthened, renewed, healed, prepared and empowered to do the ministry that God has for you to do in this world together.

Aaron:
With that being said, Jennifer and I would love to invite you to join the thousands of other couples in taking our 31 day marriage prayer challenge. This is a completely free and fun way to build a habit of prayer in your marriage. All you have to do to join is visit MarriagePrayerChallenge.com and fill out the registration form. Once you do that you will begin to receive an email every day from us during the 31 days to not only remind you to pray for your spouse but will also give you various topics and prompts to help you know what to pray for. We dare your marriage to start praying like never before. Start the challenge today at MarriagePrayerChallenge.com. Now enjoy the rest of today’s episode.

Aaron:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh.”

Jennifer:
One.

Aaron:
Quick little note about this, in-laws, make sure that you set really great boundaries because a man shall leave his father and his mother. Take that with what you want. You should set boundaries with-

Jennifer:
Well it’s true. In our notes it says, “It’s not just about you anymore”-

Aaron:
Yep.

Jennifer:
If we’re talking to your spouse, it’s not just about them anymore and it’s not just about your extended families-

Aaron:
Yep you become a new thing.

Jennifer:
Some people prioritize their families over their spouse.

Aaron:
Oh yeah.

Jennifer:
That’s a learning curve.

Aaron:
“Don’t make me choose you over my mom.”

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
That happens.

Jennifer:
Although this scripture that we’re referencing is a picture of leaving that to start this new thing.

Aaron:
That’s where we get the idea of leave and cleave.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
Now this doesn’t mean that you break all relationships off. In some cases maybe you should but the idea is that you recognize that together you are a single new thing. A new family. You’re not just now an extension of all your other immediate family. Although they’re still part of you, you’re still to love them and witness to them when necessary and they’re still a part of your life. You’re a new thing and we’ve seen this a lot. We’ve seen it in our relationship with our unhealthy connections to our immediate families and in other people’s relationships. When you have an unhealthy balance of this like, umbilical cord still going to mom and dad and yet you’re trying to be a man over here, a husband, a leader for your wife or vice versa on the wife’s side. You need to be aware of that.

Jennifer:
You guys need to support each other in that unity because the truth is you’re starting a family. Whether or not you have kids-

Aaron:
You started a family.

Jennifer:
Your spouse is your family and what you guys are building is a legacy.

Aaron:
Yep.

Jennifer:
We just want to encourage you to consider what decisions you are making today that are contributing to this legacy that you’re building. One of the ways we want to encourage you is get to know your spouse. Just because you’ve married them doesn’t mean that you know them.

Aaron:
I’m still getting to know you, babe.

Jennifer:
I know and that’s an encouragement to me and hopefully it is to our listeners that we can study each other, we can ask each other questions that will build up our friendship and build up that unity of oneness and everything that we’re doing in our marriage.

Aaron:
Also talking about a new family, a new creation and thinking about legacy. As a new couple remember what one of first God’s commandments was to man and woman. Genesis 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply” okay? This hasn’t changed. God still desires Godly men and women to raise up Godly children. We would raise children to know and love him. Wherever you’re at on this journey I just want you to consider that. That God loves children. He loves them. It’s what he’s doing in the world. It doesn’t just say, “multiply,” the idea’s not just go have children. The idea is that we, our desire is for children and our desire is to disciple children and to raise children who love God.

Jennifer:
It’s a very intentional thing-

Aaron:
It’s super intentional.

Jennifer:
Super intentional and I’ll say this about having kids with you, Aaron, is that it has grown our marriage and has revealed things about each other and has revealed opportunities for us to encourage each other towards maturity, towards love for one another, towards grace for each other. How many times has having children led us to prayer?

Aaron:
All the time.

Jennifer:
Or to our arms to cry? Or all the other things.

Aaron:
Or to not sleeping. There’s just lots of things that children contribute to your marriage. It’s a really good thing. I digress. Okay so another thing about become a new thing, a new creation. One, there’s some things that we need to recognize and if we have our minds right early on we can be prepared for the difficulties of life. In First Corinthians 7 versus 32 through 34 we get some sobering truth about marriage. It says this: “I want you to be free from anxieties,” Paul is talking to the church in Corinth. He says, “The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the lord,” and so he’s showing this contrast. “A single man has one single thing to think about: pleasing the Lord” if he’s a Christian, right? Because they can also just be thinking about themselves but he’s talking about Christians. He says, “The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord. How to please the Lord.” He says, “But the married man is anxious about worldly things. How to please his wife.”

Aaron:
When he says, “Worldly things” he’s not talking about like, worldly sin he’s talking about-

Jennifer:
The matters of the home and-

Aaron:
Normal things.

Jennifer:
Providing for-

Aaron:
You got to make a paycheck, you got to feed the family, you got to go to work. These things, he says, “The married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.” So the reality for a married man, and he’s not saying this is a negative thing. He says, “I want you to be free from anxieties,” all of these are [anxiousnesses 00:20:06]. Is that a word? Anxiousness that the single man or the married man have. Anxious about the Lord or anxious about worldly things and pleasing his wife. He says, “I want you to be free from these anxieties” and he says, “And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.”

Aaron:
First of all there’s two things he’s showing. The natural, correct posture of a man and a woman who are married is to be concerned about pleasing their spouse and pleasing the Lord, okay? A single man or woman should be anxious about pleasing the Lord. There should be no one else in their life with a relationship with a husband or wife. They’re single, they’re pleasing the Lord. Now, they’re going to love their brothers and sisters and the body of Christ because that’s one of the ways that we please the Lord but this is showing the reality of a married man. You don’t get to just say, “I’m going to just go do this ministry and I’m going to go please the Lord and my wife over here, I’m just going to leave her behind. She’s just going to deal with it.”

Aaron:
That’s actually false. We talked about this in our book Marriage After God. The reality is we get to walk in the dichotomy of pleasing God and being a man that has to provide for my home, take care of my wife, take care of my kids, make sure the bills are paid, make sure there’s food on the table, make sure that everyone’s safe-

Jennifer:
Make sure there’s love in the home.

Aaron:
Make sure there’s love in the home, make sure my kids are being discipled, make sure there’s education. I have to think about all these things. Insurance, gas, all of the things.

Jennifer:
Being a grownup.

Aaron:
Being a man, yeah. The wife gets the same thing. She doesn’t get to just, “I’m just going to go do this ministry over here and I’m going to be in my prayer closet all day so take care of the kids, hon.” No, her interests are divided. Then he later on says, “I say these things so that your interests will not be divided.” The point he’s making is if I’m a husband walking in understanding with my wife, discipling my children, washing her by the water with the word, taking care of my home, making sure that I’m paying the bills and providing security and safety as much as in my ability, that is pleasing God. They’re the same thing. That’s the role the husband gets.

Aaron:
My first ministry is to my wife. My wife’s first ministry is to her husband. Our second ministry is to our children. Our third ministry is to everything else God brings our way. Our neighbors, our church-

Jennifer:
And that’s not an “If” because he does-

Aaron:
He will. I didn’t say, “If.”

Jennifer:
No, I’m just clarifying for anyone who may have had that question.

Aaron:
Not me.

Jennifer:
No.

Aaron:
Not my neighbors.

Jennifer:
I’m just saying even though your spouse is your first ministry and children, all those other things will come.

Aaron:
Yes.

Jennifer:
When they do your whole family gets to be a light.

Aaron:
Yeah. The reason I brought up that scripture is because I want you to have a sober perspective that your relationship to your wife is a ministry that pleases God when you do it in the spirit. It’s not something separate. It’s not like your marriage and family are over here and God and ministry over here. Nope. They’re one in the same. Why don’t you read and talk about the next one.

Jennifer:
The next one is just having understanding and patience with each other. This is an encouragement because I think so very quickly in a marriage relationship you can be consumed with what you need to take care of right here and right now or maybe you just are lacking that understanding of what that other person is going through and you’re not seeing or being able to grasp what that person is going through and so this is an encouragement to keep the eyes of your heart open toward each other and for each other.

Aaron:
Yeah, strive for understanding.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
The scripture that specifically speaks to this is First Peter 3:7 it says this, it says, “Likewise husbands live with your wives in an understanding way. Showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel since they are heirs with you of the grace of life so that your prayers may not be hindered.” This is a direct command of the husband to live with their wife in an understanding way which is something that I’ve struggled with the most I think out of anything in our marriage career is understanding you. I should seek to understand. A part of understanding, especially when it comes to our wives or our husbands, you know, vice versa, is recognizing that we often also just don’t know things.

Jennifer:
Yeah. Yeah.

Aaron:
Right? That’s a part of understanding is like, if I don’t understand it’s because I think I do know.

Jennifer:
Well I think it’s so easy in the flesh to think that you actually do know.

Aaron:
And that’s my problem. I think I know, which is me not understanding because when I think I know and you’re acting contrary to what I thought is true-

Jennifer:
It’s frustrating.

Aaron:
It’s frustrating and angering and I’m like, “Why are you being like this? What’s going on?” I’m not even seeking to understand, I just assumed I already knew. In First Corinthians 3:18 it says, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age let him become a fool so then he can become wise.” So humbleness. The first ingredient to understanding is humbleness. It’s listening. It’s being quick to listen and slow to speak.

Jennifer:
Yep.

Aaron:
Which I’m also very terrible at.

Jennifer:
We’re getting better at that [crosstalk] both of us are getting better at that.

Aaron:
Yeah. Seek to understand and in the beginning that’s going to take recognizing you don’t know. Especially like, we thought we knew so much and we knew nothing. Like nothing. Nothing about each other. Everything that was coming out of us was like, “I’ve never seen this before.”

Jennifer:
And so many wasted arguments trying to convince the other person how things should be. You know what I mean?

Aaron:
Right, when our way wasn’t right either.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
Instead of learning a new way together or just both of us changing. Humbleness and listening would have changed everything.

Jennifer:
What would you say right now in the way that we operate helps you most understand where I’m at? Whether I’m going through something emotionally or physically?

Aaron:
Asking you questions.

Jennifer:
That’s good.

Aaron:
Like, “Well why’d you think that? Where do you think this feeling’s coming from? Do you think that the way you’re thinking is right? Have you prayed about that?” I ask you questions to see where you’re at, how you’ve dealt with it, what you’re thinking.

Jennifer:
That’s good.

Aaron:
I don’t always have the right questions but I ask questions.

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), that’s good. That’s really good. Okay so the next one, I don’t know, you put this in our notes but I don’t know how it’s an encouragement so we’re going to have to talk this out.

Aaron:
This next one I put in here and I just threw it in because it is a reality and I think the sooner we can just be like, “Oh okay, this is true-“

Jennifer:
This is like one of those sober encouragements so we’re just going to tell it to you straight and we’re hoping it encourages you because it’s going to keep you from-

Aaron:
Thinking wrong.

Jennifer:
Thinking wrong.

Aaron:
Well if we have wrong expectations it’s going to be like, more difficult to correct that. Everything’s going to go against those. But if we expect like, “Oh this is going to be hard.”

Jennifer:
Marriage is hard. It’s not always hard. It’s not like this drudgery. It’s just that when you have two people living in the same space and we’re natural people who struggle and sin and selfishness and we’re learning how, like you said, how to be one-

Aaron:
And you were raised one way and I was raised another.

Jennifer:
That’s a big deal. After like five years or seven years-

Aaron:
Everything I think is right and everything you think is wrong and it’s, those things-

Jennifer:
Listen I was 21 when I got married, you were 22.

Aaron:
We were young.

Jennifer:
Some people get married even later than that and so you’re talking about decades long of living one way and then all of a sudden making something new. That takes time.

Aaron:
It’s hard. Metamorphosis is not easy and that’s what this is. Becoming a new creation, changing ways of thinking and it does become drudgery when both people are-

Jennifer:
Have their feet in the mud and they refuse-

Aaron:
To change.

Jennifer:
To walk in understanding.

Aaron:
They fight to keep their norm.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
And force the other person to fit into that norm. It’s painful. If you both say, “Hey this is going to be hard and I’m going to, I don’t know how but I’m going to go with it, I’m going to change.”

Jennifer:
Yeah okay so here’s the reality, too, of why marriage can be hard. Our spouse won’t always meet our expectations and sometimes we have some really high expectations. I know I did when I first got married. Aaron?

Aaron:
I thought I was perfect when we got married. I literally thought, “We won’t fight about anything-“

Jennifer:
Did you have expectations of me that were not met?

Aaron:
Oh-

Jennifer:
I’m so sorry.

Aaron:
None. I had none. All my expectations were perfectly met. That’s not true.

Jennifer:
The truth is we won’t always meet our spouse’s expectations. We will sin, we will hurt each other, we will fail. Not because we want to but because we have this flesh that-

Aaron:
We’re still learning-

Jennifer:
We’re still learning how to kill and yield to God and walking in the spirit. We won’t always agree with each other and so part of marriage is learning through conversation how to communicate well and that’s a learning curve, as well.

Aaron:
What’s awesome though is we have the word of God that we both get to go back to and if we allow that to happen, if that becomes a norm in the home of like, dealing with agreements and disagreements and understanding the right way to think instead of like, “No it’s my way or the highway.” It’s like, “Hey I can be wrong. Let’s go to the word of God.” Like, “[inaudible 00:30:36] how am I supposed to be right now? I’m wrong.”

Jennifer:
Here’s the thing, when you’re arguing you can argue with each other until you’re blue in the face but you can’t argue, if you both are believers and you believe the word of God, you can’t argue with the word of God. You can’t get it-

Aaron:
You shouldn’t.

Jennifer:
Well yeah. Okay.

Aaron:
We try to sometimes, I think.

Jennifer:
Well when I realized that about our relationship it changed my perspective and it did show me how to respond with more humility in things that we disagreed on because I knew we would at least find common ground in the word of God and we would use that to lead us. Anyways, as marriage is hard and as all these things are happening within the very intimate relationship of marriage, how should a husband and wife respond to each other?

Aaron:
Well what’s awesome about the word of God is that it tells us as individuals how to be and also how to be in any relationship. Our actions are not contingent on our spouse’s actions. Our obedience to the word of God is not contingent on our spouse’s actions. I get to walk in obedience to how the words called me to be a husband-

Jennifer:
And if we’re both walking that out according to scripture-

Aaron:
There’ll be infinitely more peace.

Jennifer:
Yeah-

Aaron:
And just strength and growth and repentance and forgiveness and-

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
We don’t wait for the other person to change before we change. We do what the Bible tells us regardless.

Jennifer:
Which I feel like this was a big deal for the beginning of our marriage because I responded and reacted out of so much of my emotions and what I was feeling in the midst of whatever we were going through and instead of what you said I actually believed that my responsibility was contingent on you and so if you responded a certain way or if you acted out or if you did something I thought I was in the right to respond a certain way because of that instead of, “No, my responsibility is how does God’s word tell me to respond?”

Aaron:
Do you think you still struggle with that sometimes?

Jennifer:
Of course but I would say that I’m more mature and better at it.

Aaron:
You recognize it.

Jennifer:
I recognize it quicker and I practice walking in the spirit more regularly now than I did when we first got married.

Aaron:
I feel like we both do this. The only reason I ask that question is because I recognize when I do it. One thing we practice is encouraging each other like, “Hey I know the way I was was wrong but you didn’t have to respond the way you did, either.”

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
Not to get back but to remind us like, “Hey, we can control how we’re being and it’s not contingent on if I approached you wrong.” Which is amazing because if one of us does it right it extinguishes the moment real quick.

Jennifer:
Another thing that it extinguishes if you’re going to be in an argument or anything is just going to prayer. Especially if you two can not agree on anything and things are escalating the moment you, and it’s hard to do in the flesh because we just fight. When you go to prayer and you’re before God everything seems to just dissipate.

Aaron:
Everything seems so small when you’re in the throne room with him.

Jennifer:
So small and then you start, even though in your flesh you want to be praying that God changes the person sitting next to you, you can’t help but to pray for yourself and start to apologize for all the things that’s going on because it’s like, immediate humility.

Aaron:
To move on from the heaviness of marriage is hard because of the truth of, the reality of the difficulties and the hardness of the realities of marriage-

Jennifer:
And I just want to say when things are hard don’t give up, persevere and endure it and-

Aaron:
And it’s normal-

Jennifer:
It’s okay. Yeah.

Aaron:
It’s normal.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
We just want to give you an encouragement. Have fun.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
Play and joke and have joy with your spouse.

Jennifer:
So important.

Aaron:
In any moment you can. Joke around in bed, you know? When you’re in the car talk about the things that just make you guys so happy and the things that you connect with on such a deep level and have fun.

Jennifer:
Yeah. God created us with the ability to laugh and to smile and to experience joy and I think sometimes as an adult you get bombarded with all these responsibilities and things you’ve got to do and then you get married and you have this other person that you’ve committed your life to and it can seem like work, work, work, or your laundry list of things that you need to do but you can’t forego the truth that God created us to enjoy life, to enjoy one another, to see who each other are in the midst of those really intimate, beautiful, happy moments.

Aaron:
Yeah, Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Jennifer:
Oh man. That verse in light of marriage is actually really powerful.

Aaron:
Yeah so seek those joyful moments, fight for it. The Bible says that the joyful Lord is our strength. Let’s be joyful, let’s have fun with each other and not just like, hold on to things.

Jennifer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) or get in this mode of like, do, do, do, it’s all business. It’s not all business. Sometimes it’s just sitting on the couch next to each other sharing a bowl of ice cream. Well I would never share my bowl of ice cream but I got to share-

Aaron:
I wouldn’t like it anyways because I don’t like the ice cream you eat.

Jennifer:
Okay so I got to say this, in the beginning of our marriage Aaron and I struggled a lot with sexual intimacy. If you’ve read the Unveiled Wife or even Marriage After God we tell you guys all about it. It was really painful physically and emotionally for us and I could see how our marriage relationship began to erode and we started to pull away from each other, even to the point of feeling like we were roommates.

Aaron:
Oh yeah.

Jennifer:
Looking back at those first three years I would say more than anything we were able to endure, of course because we submitted to the Lord and we truly did want to serve him together but even in the midst of those really painful moments we found ways to still be friends and do things that would stimulate joyful moments, happy moments.

Aaron:
I totally agree.

Jennifer:
Like going on a road trip or going out to dinner with family. I mean-

Aaron:
Or laughing with friends.

Jennifer:
Those are just some of the things that stood out to me that when I look back at those times, even though it’s hard to look back at those times, I’m so grateful that we were still willing to embrace playful moments with each other.

Aaron:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. Lastly and most importantly your marriage, whether you’re newly married or not, whether you’ve been married 12 years like us, 25 years or one day. Your marriage is a ministry. It’s a symbol of the gospel to the world. The husband represents Christ, the wife represents the church. The relationship between Christ and the church and the relationship between husband and wife are to reflect each other. That’s what we’re doing. We talked about this earlier on, you know? The interests that are divided, they’re not actually divided. When I’m learning and practicing loving my wife as Christ loves the church, giving himself up for her, washing her by the water with the word, which it tell us in Ephesians 5:25. I’m preaching the gospel through my marriage. That’s one way we’ve been given to preach the gospel. Our marriage is a symbol of the gospel, right?

Jennifer:
Your marriage is a symbol of the gospel.

Aaron:
Yeah and so we just, that’s a phrase we use in the book, your marriage is meant for more than just happily ever after. Happily ever after is great but it’s not the whole picture. It’s actually a very small, small, small piece of the picture. What God’s got for us is so much grander than just a happy future. It’s a powerful future, it’s one where our present, our current present and our future is proclaiming his glory through the way we interact with each other, through the way we raise our children, through the way we run our home, through the way we interact with out neighbors as a couple and have people over to our homes and around our dinner tables and in our backyards. It’s so important to recognize that. It changes everything when you think this way. It’s why we wrote our book, it’s why we want to encourage couples to recognize that.

Aaron:
They can’t just give up because they’re giving up on the symbol that they represent. They can’t just act how they want to act towards their spouse because of what they represent even beyond just their marriage. If we desire to grow in the image that God’s created us to bear. The way we look at everything in our marriage will change. I don’t know if you have anything else to add to that, Jennifer but-

Jennifer:
My encouragement would just be when you see your marriage as a ministry everything, everything matters when it comes to how you treat one another. You have a privilege and a responsibility to support each other, to be praying for each other, to be ambassadors of the ministry of reconciliation.

Aaron:
We had to practice that.

Jennifer:
We had to practice that with each other. All those one another verses throughout the Bible, do it for each other, what a beautiful relationship that we have as a husband and wife. This world, the culture that we live in, everything’s so isolated. Just when you kind of break it down and look at everyone’s on social media but how many friends do you actually see face to face?-

Aaron:
Yeah we’re more connected than ever and we’re more lonely than ever.

Jennifer:
Right but it doesn’t have to be that way in our marriage.

Aaron:
Nope.

Jennifer:
It shouldn’t be that way in our marriage and so knowing that is comforting. Kind of going back to that first verse that we shared today, two are better than one. Two are stronger-

Aaron:
And three-

Jennifer:
Together and three is powerful.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
When our marriage is founded on Christ that’s powerful and so we want to encourage you to look to the example of Christ and serve each other in your marriage for the rest of your lives because that will produce such an impactful light in this world that the darkness wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Aaron:
No, our enemy is afraid of what happens when Christians say, “Yes” to God. When we do our marriages become a mighty tool in the hand of a mighty God.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
Guys, that is our encouragement to newlyweds.

Jennifer:
To all of you.

Aaron:
I’m sure all the older married couples are like, “Yeah that’s old news.” No, I’m just kidding. This is still encouraging to us as we listen to this.

Jennifer:
I’m like, shaking my head yes. Good reminders.

Aaron:
Share this episode with someone who just got married. Share it with someone whose been married for 50 years. Let people know about this podcast and pray that the holy spirit works through it in their lives. We love you, we thank you for joining us and we’re going to close in prayer.

Aaron:
Father God, we just want to thank you so much for all of those who have recently gotten married. We thank you that they have started a journey to look more and more like the symbol that you’ve called them to represent in this world. Father God, we pray that they recognize that they represent the gospel in their individual life and as a couple. We pray that their desire for children would grow. We pray that their desire to raise Godly children would grow. Lord, we just thank you that you’ve given us this gift called marriage to sanctify us, to change us, to grow us, to mold us to look more like your son, Jesus. I pray that as believers we would do that exactly. We thank you and we praise you. In Jesus’ name amen.

Aaron:
Thank you so much for joining us and again, if you haven’t left a review yet please do that right now and if you haven’t taken the prayer challenge go to MarriagePrayerChallenge.com and start that today. We love you all and we’ll see you next week.

Aaron:
Did you enjoy today’s show? If you did it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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