When I first asked Whitney to guest post (back in June or July but we are BUSY PEOPLE), we both probably thought it would be a one and done topic. Whit would write a post for one week and then you’d get my sassy self back right after that. But as she and I began to talk through what the Lord had laid on her heart to write, it became quickly clear that it was at least a 2 week stint. And this morning we decided at to go for 3. So, here’s week 2. Again, I’m so glad you all are getting to learn from my dear friend. Let these words and the truth of Scripture soak in this evening. And enjoy Christmas – celebrating God coming to dwell with His people and make us whole. – Kayla (ps, I’m going to continue posting some of their engagement photos as long as Whitney writes, so, get used to it. I loved taking them and I love sharing them.)
What do singles think are the benefits of marriage? What are you treasuring?
What are the benefits of marriage? As Kayla and I sat in my kitchen listening to Christmas music we began to discuss the preconceived notions she had. As she talked a slight smirk started to grow on my face. She would suggest an idolized expectation about marriage, and I tried to hide my facial expression by sipping my tea but I knew I couldn’t, especially not with her. As they say in the south I wanted to tell her, “Bless your heart.” (Imagine I said that in a southern accent…because if you don’t it will lose the effect.)
Every single misconception of marriage she mentioned I could give countless examples to refute her claims. This view of marriage as perfect, prim, and pressed is unrealistic and unfair to singles. Marriage is wonderful, and hard because it’s a relationship of two sinners together in a covenant relationship for life.
I would like to help unveil the image of “perfection” that masks true struggles within marriages. Let’s get real, because that is where true growth happens…
#1 Finances Misconception: “Things are easier because of having 2 incomes; can have more things and do more stuff because you have more money; don’t have to monitor finances as closely.”
Money is not one of my favorite topics. But ask my hubs. He will give you spreadsheets for your spreadsheets. He loves to budget, work on his checkbook, and calculate our finances…it relaxes him. How is that even possible? I don’t get it. Praise God he enjoys that. I like to budget and save, but he is on a whole other level, thus sometimes we disagree on how to spend or save money.
Marriage does not solve our money problems. I wish it were that simple. For me, marriage magnified my finance issues and forced me to pray and seek God on what to do with finances. Why? Because when I was single my spending choices only affected me, now my decisions on spending/saving affect my spouse.
It’s God’s money that we steward together prayerfully. This has been crucial for us to realize it’s the Lord’s. Now we have monthly budget meetings to make sure we are unified in our stance on handling money (that are actually really helpful – I used to dread these).
And regarding the misconception about finances in marriage allowing for “more things/do more stuff” and “not have to monitor finances as closely,” that is a heart issue about money, rather than a marriage v. single issue, because anyone could say that whether married or not. I could covet another married person’s income or compare my income to single persons. This is simply a sin issue of coveting and comparing with money.
Money can quickly become an idol with loans, debt, wanting new shoes, or even hoarding money and saving it can be an idol. Jesus spent roughly a fourth of His time talking about money while on earth, clearly it was important since He knows our hearts and how fallen we are to turn to money for our comfort or security:
Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Our lust for money can divide our hearts from worshipping God to worshipping dollars, and because it is a tempting idol it is essential we learn what God’s word says about it, no matter our marital status.
Good Finance Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Do you love money over your love for God? Do you trust in money or God?
1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
- Whose money is it anyways? Question you need to ask yourself often. Maybe like me, before you go to the mall? Seriously I’m not kidding. Every time I go into the mall I have to pray about my purchases. Know yourself, and know your limits and pray that you would use your money to glorify God.
Matthew 6:21 “…for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.”
3.) What is the purpose of your money?
Read the Widow’s Offering, Mark 12:41-44. I want to highlight verse 44, “For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
If you believe it is your money, then you spend/save it as you see fit. If you see it as money God has entrusted you with to steward, then you spend/save as you feel the Lord is leading you.
#2 Misconceptions of Loneliness: “You always have someone that loves having you around; you don’t feel alone as you would if you always came home to an empty apartment—there’s always someone around.”
If this is a misconception you have about marriage, I can see your rationalization. I thought the same thing too; that once I was married I would never feel lonely. I believe this problem of loneliness is growing partially due to social media, we think we are connected to our “friends,” when it is not a real face-to-face relationship instead of the computer screen.
Our pastor’s wife recently shared how marriage has been a lonely time for her. I thought, surely she is not alone, she is married to a great guy and has so many connections, but it was true- she felt lonely. I greatly appreciated her sharing this, because it showed me that I wasn’t alone in feeling lonely…which was oddly comforting. Authentic vulnerability in relationships is rare, but it’s possible. Look at Acts 2: the body of Christ loved people well, whether single or married and they were in true fellowship with each other.
At times I have felt alone in marriage. My husband has felt alone in marriage. Sure marriage is great because you are living with your best friend, but there are times when I struggle to express what I am feeling or maybe I want to talk with someone else who is a female and can relate differently to me than my spouse. Maybe I am putting unfair expectations on my husband / friends to meet my neediness, which can result in feeling alone. But I have to go to Jesus when I feel alone or insecure first, because my hubby or friends can’t fulfill me.
I asked Pat what he thinks is the opposite of loneliness? He said, “Feeling loved.” I love that answer so much. Because we are loved, by the most perfect one: Christ. A relationship with Christ allows us to have communion with the God of the universe, who loves you and cares for you. We are never alone. Ever.
Psalm 73:23 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.”
Good questions about loneliness to ask yourself:
- When I feel alone, how has my time been with the Lord? This should be the relationship I hold above all other relationships…it is with our Maker.
Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. “
- Am I in good Christian community? If not, how can I get more connected?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “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!”
- Am I comparing my life with others lives? Especially on social media?
I struggle with the temptations of comparisons, this verse helps me I pray it helps you too:
2 Corinthians 10:12 “ Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
When have you seen someone post a picture of themselves online in a fight with their spouse over money, or a picture of bills to pay, or they are by themselves?? People post what looks “good” and we then filter our views through what we see online. Which isn’t a clear picture of someone’s life, we are without understanding.
We will continue to try to pull back the claims that once you get marriage you are healed or that life is easy. If marriage was a special medicine that would eliminate all insecurities, hurts, and fears then I must be too sick to be healed by my spouse. Because after 2 years into marriage I still have insecurities, hurts, fears and so many more sinful thought patterns. Luckily I know the one who can heal my heart and continue to sanctify me to be more like His son, and Beloved He is available to heal your heart as well. Trust Him.
Until next time…
Misconceptions of marriage to discuss next time: -Sex -Insecurities -Feeling good enough
*If you missed last week’s post, catch up here!