Growing up I was told, "your children come first because they will never leave you but a man can come and go." This was so heavily installed in my mind and growing up, I was always first before my father. If my parents were talking and I interrupted, my father was hushed. There was also no such thing as a date night in my household growing up; because, it was a waste of time and only selfish mothers wanted to be away from their kids...right?
As our family grew, my mother's priorities were her three little girls and at the end of the day when she was tired and had nothing left to give, she slept with us. My mother was only ever trying to be the mother she never had and I love her for it; but growing up, there was a lot of tension from the lack of time with my father. I could hear my father's plea for time but, my mother was convinced that as a Christian mother, her children were her ministry and not her husband.
When my time came for marriage, naturally my mind was made up... Chris (my husband ) was not to be to important because, he could just up and leave and I had wasted my time; but my daughters, OH my precious daughters, they were to be my mini-idols as all my time and energy was to go to only to them. And God forbid I left them to go on a date.
Maybe it's a cultural chain or maybe our motherly instincts that can and WILL cross healthy boundaries created by God. Regardless of the root, my marriage suffered severely, far more than that of my parent's marriage, at least from what I knew. I refused to spend time with my husband and when we did I was uninterested and I let it be known.
To me, I was being a GREAT mother but what I missed was God's order and the lack of that order was causing anger and separation in our home.
When I was 20 years old, I remember our marriage breaking apart quickly and finally after four short years, we had decided we just were never meant to be and he shared with me, "you never spend time with me and I needed your help and love too", but in my mind I saw nothing wrong with that what I was doing.
As I returned to Christ that year, my husband came to Christ through this change. But even as a Christian woman, I refused to believe God's order; until one day in the midst of this chaos, a very close friend and I talked about my marriage (since I admired her so much and her marriage was so giving - it was beautiful.) And since we knew them so intimately, I knew the arguments and chatter they had never destroyed them the way it was doing to ours.
She shared with me God's order in a family and as hard as it was for me to agree, I had to believe God created this design in his infinite wisdom and that it's meant to work and so far my order was causing heart-break. I dove into the word of God and every time it mentioned families, it would say husband's are first after God. After God it was my husband, myself and THEN my children. It was so hard for me to believe that God really wanted this as the order. I had to trust that He is far wiser than me and that my marriage was where it was partly, because of the order it was in.
So I am sure you are wondering were in scripture it says this. Well, I will share just a few that I had to memorize as I asked God to transform me and renew my mind to His will.
Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” All of one’s heart, soul, and strength is to be committed to loving God, making Him the first priority.
If married, your spouse comes next. A married man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians5:25). Christ’s first priority—after obeying and glorifying the Father—was the church. Here is an example a husband should follow: God first, then his wife. In the same way, wives are to submit to their husbands “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The principle is that a woman’s husband is second only to God in her priorities.
If husbands and wives are second only to God in our priorities, and since a husband and wife are one flesh (Ephesians 5:31), it stands to reason that the result of the marriage relationship—children—should be the next priority. Parents are to raise godly children who will be the next generation of those who love the Lord with all their hearts (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4), showing once again that God comes first. All other family relationships should reflect that. credit to: Gotquestion.com
When I finally gave my whole heart to God on this matter, I quickly saw the change in my marriage. So much so, that my own mother wanted to know what happened in our marriage. So much so that almost a decade, later my husband and I are firm in the Lord and give Him the Glory for our marriage.
I learned that yes, our daughters are so important and they are my ministry; but, my husband and I need to be together stronger for our daughters and that our marriage wasn't neglected - as I was led to believe all my life.
Our daughters needed to see what works in a marriage and that it only works in God's order. They need to see that mommy loves daddy so much that she take the time to be alone with him and that we are a team and not two strangers constantly fighting against each other. They need to feel stability coming from both of us as their parents and what it looks like to glorify God in a marriage. We had to set standards, so when they get married, they know the difference between a godly marriage and the marriage we had prior to God's order. We want to save them the experience of going through what we did to understand God's order of marriage.
To maintain a godly marriage you first need to put God in it; then obey His order.
You can't have a godly marriage without God in it. A godly marriage will still have issues, because we are two sinners in need of grace; but when we have Jesus, we know who to run to. We know His order and what we can do to let go of our pride and make marriage work.
My husband and I had to learn to be together in a room without children and talk about our marriage, repent and fix what we had done. We had to pray and still do for God's Spirit to guide us as a team. We found ways to laugh and play together as our daughters laughed along with us. We are terrible at date nights; but still, I must admit that we know the importance of them.
Now, when we leave for a few hours, our daughter's smile as I get ready and yell with joy to "HAVE FUN love birds!"
I see such a difference in our marriage and how putting my husband first is truly God's design.
If you are wondering about my parents, they have come to realize the importance of this matter. And even though they no longer have small children at home, they are hardly ever alone and are always going on the dates they missed out on in their young marriage.
Now we have two generations following God's design and my daughters make a point to share with me that they can't wait to go on dates and love their husbands.
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