Friday, January 4, 2008

Rejoicing in marriage

Today, in a world so void of spirituality, of values, of self-sacrifice, we often forget what marriage is about. As I have mentioned before, more and more people come to view marriage as an outdated economical arrangement, purely convenient at best – and oppressive to women at worst. As you understand, a young woman who is currently preparing for marriage herself doesn't find this point of view very uplifting.

So where do I turn for a source of inspiration, consolation, peace, wholeness and encouragement? As always – to God's instruction. Here are two verses I always remember whenever I think about marriage:

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)

"Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth." (Proverbs 5:18)

There's a glimpse of marriage, as God intended it to be: oneness, harmony, love, respect, honor, joy and endurance through hardships and rough times. I'm not saying that marriage doesn't also have a practical, economical side – it is explicitly said a man is supposed to provide for his family, and a woman care for the matters of her household; but this is far, far, far from the very special, incredibly spiritual union marriage is intended to be.

As someone who isn't married yet, perhaps I can't even imagine the degree of closeness, unity and togetherness that exist in a good marriage; perhaps some of you married ladies who read this can provide a better perspective. But I know for sure marriage means more, so much more than mere economical stability and sexual gratification.

When – God willing – time comes for me, too, to set on this new stage of journey in my life, hand in hand with my new husband, I hope I can truly rejoice in my marriage, and build a God-honoring, joyful, warm, love-filled home.

… Writing this was inspired by one of those not-so-kind remarks I sometimes get on my blog, and I want to say a few words about it, something that has been rather heavy on my heart for a couple of weeks now.

When I started blogging, I was ready – even looking forward – to defending what I believe in; those of you who have been regular readers know I patiently answered and even welcomed controversy and objections.

But as the months passed by, I felt a change of heart. No, my convictions didn't change one bit. Yes, I remain a firm believer of everything I stated on this blog. But now I feel as though I would love nothing better but to just live out what I believe in – in peace, joy, contentment and love, not paying the slightest attention to naysayers. In the past weeks, I greatly reduced the amount of time I used to dedicate to answering skeptic questions and objections by email and otherwise; I feel that especially now, in such a busy period of my life, time can be better used in more constructive pursuits. It doesn't mean I will not answer questions anymore – I still greatly enjoy and welcome them. But I will address the more important issues, and specifically those which haven't yet been discussed on this blog.

28 comments:

Terry said...

I have only been blogging for a fraction of the time that you have, and have had to come to the same conclusion myself. While I, like you, intend to encourage women about the beauty of family life when lived according to Scripture, dealing day afrter day with those who disagree so vehemently can be tiring. You lasted longer than me. I respect your position. God bless you and I look forward to your future posts.

Gothelittle Rose said...

I feel qualified to describe a good marriage. :)

A good marriage is when you have problems and difficulties, but when you feel like you'd just like to run away from it all you realize that your first desire is not to pack a suitcase and go... it's to turn to your husband and say, "Let's pack a suitcase and get out of here."

It reminds me of a line from the movie "Hook", in which Tinkerbelle reminds a middle-aged Peter Pan what it was once like: "The world was ours! We could do everything or nothing. All it had to be was anything, because it was always us!"

When he's got a book and I've got a book, we prefer to sit leaning on each other as we read.

When we get frustrated at each other, if I'm frustrated to tears at him, he still holds me when I cry, and I prefer it that way.

Last fall we went to a metal concert together. He isn't a concert kind of guy, but he went anyways, since I was afraid of driving around the big city by myself. We put earplugs in and he read stories while we were waiting. We criticized the garage bands to each other between songs. I bought a band shirt and changed into it in the ladies' room at his urging, and then we flirted shamelessly with each other for the rest of the night. Must've been that evil rock beat *grin* It was just like when we were dating, only deeper, because my attraction to him has added to it everything he's faithfully been to me and the promise of more, God willing, much more.

Anyways, I'll stop now, because I always like talking about our marriage and my husband. It'll brighten my whole day, just to write this up in the morning.

Lest anybody think this is 'honeymoon syndrome' talking, we've been married 8 years this March with a five-year-old son and the past three years were possibly second only to sixth grade as the hardest time in my life.

Persuaded said...

Anna, truly I feel that the best way to express your opinion, to counter the naysayers is to, as you so sweetly said it...
" just live out what I believe in – in peace, joy, contentment and love, not paying the slightest attention to naysayers."

By choosing not to directly engage those that would argue with you, you are actually expressing your beliefs in the most cogent, concrete and articulate way possible. And you are also reserving your energies for where they are most appropriately spent!

((hugs)) to you sweetie!

Elizabeth said...

I'm looking forward to the important issues you are going to discuss on your blog ... go for it! :-D

singlemomforgod said...

anna- you go girl! Not only are you a wife in the making, you are also a mommy in the making:) Being a parent you will have so many people criticize you for your stand on raising your children as God leads you, and it takes thick skin and prioritization of what is important. It is a skill I wish I mastered early on in life but God has blessed me to master it now.

I think that you are doing a wonderful thing. What God shows you is for you and you only, at his leadership you can decided to share it and when you do there will be those that will come against it, but at the end of the day your Godly beliefs and convictions are yours. I see so many women who waver on what they believe and end up becoming people pleasers, if we are not careful we can easily become overcome by this.
I was just telling Terry yesterday that the truth is the truth, I may not like how it is told but when you are a seeker of the truth you will keep searching for it, and embrace the places where it flows:) Stay encouraged!

C.A. Worcester said...

In my humble opinion Anna, I think you are doing the right thing by ingoring the negatives and focusing on the positives. I am sure you know by now, that you can't change a darkend heart - only God can do that. You can pray for people to change and that is the BEST thing you can do.....well, let me refine that a bit....perhaps we should be praying for God's Will in their life and then be content with ourselves as we have done what God has told us to do. Going above and beyond is not our job. That is His. Saves grief, eh?

I can understand how you feel though, as many who read your blog do too. There are so many beautiful things - (our roles in life, the Scriptures, God's timing, etc.) that are set before us, but our lives are so filled with the "average, rat race filled junk" that we often times fail to notice that small beautiful thought, idea or voice. I am so guilty of this....

I love your Scripture verse on this comment section - "Death and life are in the power of the tougue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof" Proverbs 18:21

Let all of us think on that very seriously. We are accountable to Someone are we not?

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat Shalom Anna. :-)

Blessings to you,

C.A. Worcester

Maggie said...

Good on you Anna for sticking to your convictions. It's your blog and you can work it the way you desire to do so. No one is saying you have to answer every single email or comment though I do personally admire your ability to handle even the most controversial topics in a polite manner.
Enjoy your Shabbat!

Brenda said...

You know Anna, we can get into a rut in our marriage where we are just used to being together. We can work like a team on things but not remember how special our relationship is. What usually bring it sharply into focus (unfortunately) is seeing or spending time with a couple with a bad relationship. We go home rejoicing in what we have (and prayerful for them, too.)

PhDCow said...

For all of my complaints about the small things, being married is amazing. Knowing that I'm going to wake up next to the same man for the rest of my life is very comforting. I always have a date for a party. There's always someone in my corner, wanting the best for me just as I want the best for him.

I grew up watching my parents struggle with a very unhappy marriage. I'd like to blame that on their shotgun wedding when my mother was pregnant with me. But I think it's more due to the fact that they grew apart and didn't spend time cultivating their marriage. They could have made it work if they had wanted to.

My husband and I spend time talking about our future. What are our goals for the next year, 5 years, 10 years, retirement? What will we do when our children grow up and leave the nest? IMO, if you don't have goals and don't have a vision of the future, then the future will be murky.

Regarding the latter part of your post, I hope you don't feel that I'm a nay-sayer as much as I like to provide another point of view based on my own experiences. I do believe that you're a very mature young woman with strong values and opinions and I appreciate reading your blog.

Angela

Haus Frau said...

Many contentions or arguments brought up by others have already been answered in responses or on your blog where they can click for more information. No need to rehash what's already been discussed. Very often people (me included) will jump in the middle of a discussion w/o considering what has been discussed earlier, thus making for impulsive comments.

As to marriage... My husband and I have known each other almost 38 years (met when we were 12). We married at the age of 30, after 2 years of dating. We've been married 19.5 years and just last night talked about how much closer we are than when we first married. There's a certain depth, a melding of hearts over time, a sober devotion to the other. We look forward to growing old together. The best is yet to be. :o)

Mrs.B said...

I've been married for 16 years now and your view on marriage, when done God's way, is spot on!

And I completely agree with what you said in your last paragraph. That's why I've had to implement a different comment policy on my blog. It is so draining to have to constantly battle with opposing views. Besides, it's your blog so you can do exactly as you wish!--And others can decide to read or not.

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

Kristy said...

Well said, Anna. Marriage (when done God's way) is indeed a blessing and a beautiful reflection of God's love and holiness. Jeremy and I will celebrate 6 years of marriage in March, and I can say from the honesty of my heart that each year just becomes sweeter and fuller! I don't believe there is a greater gift we can give ourselves, our children, or our nay-saying world than to live out a God-honoring, Biblical marriage.

Kat said...

Forgive me as my question has nothing to do with this particular post...but could you please share your religious awakening with us. You have said that you came to it on your own. Did you have a mentor, read something that struck a cord, etc? Also, once you had this revelation...how did you first go about living it out? Thank you so much...:)

Allison said...

Thank you Anna, for this great post. I enjoy reading each one you write!

neuropoet3 said...

There really is a lot more to marriage than "meets the eye". The reality of living day in and day out with someone is not easy - but the chance to share your entire life with one person is something people shouldn't take for granted. This one person will grow to learn all there is to know about you (over many years), and the two of you will have a "history" all your own. Your memories - joys and sorrows - end up all entwined, and the reality of your "one-fleshness" :) can be seen in the children you may be blessed with. Through marriage, the love of two people can take on bodily form in the lives of their children - it's amazing when you think of it that way - it's like a new "incarnation" of love every time a child is born.

Plus, family-life is one area of life that can really help you grow in holiness if you let it. :) A husband and children are often the catalysts of our spiritual growth - they teach us a lot about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control - and in the process hopefully we're teaching them! :) Marriage can bring times of great happiness, but its not all about being "happy" - it forces us to grow. Sometimes that growth is painful, often it happens so slowly you don't notice it, but it will happen. Together you will grow in the "one-flesh" union you begin on your wedding day, and as time passes your unity gives a deep strength - a strong foundation - to your family-life. This is the stability often spoken about when people talk about marriage helping to stabilize society.

Sometimes I think if more people went into marriage with the "goal" of "spiritual growth" - or learning to "grow up" rather than just a goal of some form of vague "happiness" then more marriages would last - and perhaps there would be more "grown ups" in the world, rather than just adolescents running around in adult bodies! :)

Michelle said...

As far as what marriage is, I would like to say this. I suffer from a personality disorder that makes it extremely difficult for me to get close to people. Basically I like people, and they like me, but I feel like even my closest friends are strangers.

My husband is the one person who breaks through this. It's not simply by virtue of living together, since I never was close to my mother or brothers. There's something special about marriage and the commitment to be together through thick and thin, no matter what. My husband is the person I always want around, and I don't even enjoy going out with friends if he isn't there.

I rarely say this out loud because I don't particularly want to hear about how "one day he won't be there and then where will I be?" I know the answer to that -- I will be at least 7 years (and hopefully many more) richer thanks to having had him for whatever time I get, and eternally grateful that I had that connection once, even if I never have it again.

Kelly said...

Anna, while I don't claim to totally understand the "oneness" God speaks of in his word I can say I understand it better now than when I was first married. For me, and my husband, it's a matter of being best friends. I can't imagine not having him in my life, and sharing however many days God grants us together. Having children just strengthens this and tests you at the same time. Together our little family is just a real joy for me. Sometimes days just spent at home doing what others would call boring, are the best days of our lives. Just being together is the best. My husband sometimes travels for work so we both get a reminder of how together we have something wonderful.
At the beginning of our marriage I don't know what I though "oneness" was, now I think it is just a growing together spiritually, emotionally, and phsyically too. On a practical level my husband is always the first person I want to tell news to, good and bad, he's the one who I count on for advice and support. It's laughing at the same jokes, sharing a knowing look over a story. All sorts of things. It takes time, but it's worth it.

As for answering skeptics questions, I don't blame you for cutting back time on dealing with that. Sometimes just living your beliefs, which would include writing about them on your blog, can be the stongest way to show what you really believe. You can't spend all your time dealing with every comment that you come across. Most of your blog entries are self explaining, and contrary comments might be best left alone. It's impossible to tell through a blog format how many of those comments are from those who just like to argue.

Keep up the great blog Anna!
Kelly

andrea said...

That's a good way to be, I think! Sometimes you just have to dust off your sandals from relentless opposition and controversy. I was just thinking the other day that what God calls us to as women and men regarding roles is unique. People can take it to two extremes--oppresive dominance of women or liberated feminism--but in the end, it is neither. God designed us so specially that it can't be put into either category that the world puts up. I think that's where a lot of the controversy comes from--they think following a biblical role is oppresive, when it really isn't.

Rebekah S. said...

I couldn't agree more with what you said here about marriage! :)It's all so true. There's also another verse in Proverbs(I forget the exact reference) but it says:"Whosoever findeth a wife findeth a good thing." Marriage is wonderful and should always be seen that way!


I know what you meant in your last paragraph. I feel the same way. I think it's great to answer naysayers, because you never know-you may be just the instrument God uses to change their convictions to line them up more in accordance with His Word. But we must not anwer these so much that it takes first priority in our lives. If it did take first priority, then Satan had probably used it to be so distracting to us that we don't use our time in important things such as learning new homemaking skills, preparing to be a wife, mother and homemaker, etc. But, as I said, I do believe it's important to answer and address the naysayers as well. There's a perfect balance that must be found and practiced.


Many blessings to you, Anna, and may you have a peaceful Shabbat!

In Him,
Rebekah

Alexandra said...

A good marriage is like coming home, a soft place to land. My husband is my best friend, but also more - he's my family. Marriage is an awesome journey and as the years pass it just gets richer. Children add another layer to it, your love for each other consecrated. A bit of each other formed in love. Family is very important to me, so it's the utmost experience. Even the hard times are worthy experiences because you go through them together. Our faith is much stronger for it.

Mrs Amy said...

What a wonderful post and timely for me...As I read this it is the morning of my 1st wedding anniversary. My beloved is having a sleep in and I am catching up on a few things before he wakes and we spend the day together remembering our promises of 12months ago. As it been easy? No not always, we have fought,(not often though!!) there have been tears and hurts BUT there has been love. LOTS OF LOVE!!!!!
So yes to me marriage is important and a wonderful God given blessing!!
I would do it all over again in a heart beat.
Well I am sure that I could say more but my beloved is awake... :)

The Coys said...

Hi Anna,
I have read your blog a few times and just checked back in. I thought that there was something different about it and then saw you changed your profile. The only thing that came to mind when I read you are Jewish was "oh, that makes sense." I always assumed you weren't American...I could tell by your profile picture (the background is not a typical american home) and you have lovely features that your are a full bread something- not mixed mutts like us American! =D I am a Christian, but I think it's neat to be able to learn more about the Jewish religion and culture. The American news paints a nasty picture of Israel, but as we can see from your *amazing* photographs- it looks a lot like suburbia America! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! ~Morgan

Julia said...

((Anna)) To give yourself some time off from the stressful comments you might want to make your blog private with only invited readers allowed or simply turn off comments for a time.

College Gal said...

This was yet another great post Anna, thank you for all that you said. May God bless you and keep you!

Crystal Paine said...

I agree, Anna. I think sometimes that the greatest impact we can have on naysayers or those who like to have a negative attitude is to hold up something beautiful and glorious to them!

While discussion and dialogue with those of differing beliefs *can* be a good thing in moderation, I've found that there will always be negative people out there who aren't looking for answers or truth, they just want to debate and criticize.

I'd rather be living life, than discussing it online, eh? Which is one reason I have become quite friendly with the delete button in the last year.

And it's interesting to see how our blogging "evolves" over time, isn't it? I know that it's certainly fascinating for me to look back over entries from the past few years and see how I've changed as a blogger and a person through blogging. It's been a really *good* change and I pray I continue to learn and grow through this modern technology.

God bless you!

Rebekah S. said...

Phd,

You said: "IMO, if you don't have goals and don't have a vision of the future, then the future will be murky." Wow, I could not agree more! That's so true. If we don't have goals and visions for our future, then we may never get anything accomplished! :) It says in Proverbs that "where there is no vision the people perish." And how true that is!

In Him,
Rebekah

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amen, Andrea! I couldn't agree more-that's so true! That's so clear (at least to me), because if they weren't for our good, and for our best interests, then they wouldn't be from God, Who wants the best for us!

Blessings,
Rebekah

Tammy said...

I know I probably fall in your category of 'skeptics' but I want you to know that although I don't agree with many of the elements of your vision (feminine submission, for one), I do agree wholeheartedly with the value you place on a peaceful, well-taken care of home. In fact, I am sure most (all?) of your readers hold dear the ideal of home as sanctuary, even if our definition of a haven, or our methods to attain it differ.

I just hope you won't limit this blog to an 'amen' choir, because that would take all the fun (and thought)out of it! On the other hand, I agree it is a waste of time to reply to those who send rude messages. They must have issues you can't solve, and time is precious.

Buffy said...

Sometimes I think it is a miracle that so many modern marriages are succesful because the path to a good marriage is so full of diversions and obstacles and no one hands you a road map anymore. When you are surrounded by friends and family who have been divorced because 'it didn't work out', and the main reason for the marriage seems to have been an excuse to throw a big party leaving many younger couples in debt, when so many men think that the main resource their wife can bring into the marriage is a second income and so many women think that if they don't have a career as good as their husband's they must be a failure...is it any wonder so many people don't have the first idea of what marriage really is?