For as long as I can remember, I longed to be a wife.
Three years old, I asked my parents, “when can I marry?”
Their reply crushed me. I didn’t fully understand, but their answer seemed heavy with the weight of time. A short while later we took a trip up to Duluth, where my parents met years before with textbooks in hand. I realized, with pure glee, where I was. “Okay mom. Now I’ve gone to college, I can get married now!”
Seventeen Years Later: Enter Silas Myrick.
He is better than anything I had ever dreamed of.
He is patient when I’m rushed, he forgives when I want to hold a grudge, he encourages me when I’m distraught. He’s spontaneous and romantic, he pours his love out for me in services and gifts. He makes me laugh harder and smile brighter. He’s the faithful to my trusting, the provider to my planning, and the free spirit to my nerdy tendencies.
And while all of these things are beautiful and wonderful and give me great joy – they’re nothing without his love for Jesus. It was that very quality that set him apart from the beginning, and eventually led me to the Lord.
While I simultaneously laid the foundation for both my relationship with Silas and my relationship with Jesus, I didn’t realize just how much closer I would be to the Lord as a result of preparing for our marriage. I was very intentional in learning how to be the best wife I could be for Silas: Financial Peace University, the 5 Love Languages quiz, premarital counseling with the Pastor who married us, talking with my parents and in-laws, meeting with a wise military/police wife, difficult and transparent conversations with Silas, endless prayer, podcasts, books, articles, advice from countless couples of all stages of marriage, and of course Scripture study.
Everything I learned and discovered more deeply during my short three-month engagement can be summarized into Five Lessons Learned in the Preparation:
1. Contentment is a Choice
A tranquil heart is life to the body,
but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.
(Proverbs 14:30, CSB)
Joy and excitement followed me all the days of our engagement. I couldn’t wait to marry my person! But even through the tough parts (engagement is not all rainbows and butterflies), I realized I felt something more strongly than I ever had before.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I had been incredibly impatient during our dating season of life – and often caught myself praying “if only we were engaged, then it would be well.” And sure enough, by the time I had a ring on my finger and a wedding date set I lived the way I promised God I would. Peace and contentment is what I knew, even through the anxiety and stress of an upcoming wedding. I had chosen to be content ahead of time.
But just as choosing to be content is very real, choosing to be discontent is the inevitable result of not choosing contentment. I didn’t set out to have the joy for other friends’ engagements stained with my own grief and longing to be married to my person – but because of my “when this happens, then I will be” state of mind, discontentment was my reality. Discontentment was my choice.
Oh, may I forever learn from this and always choose to be content in the next season, before it ever begins.
2. God’s Purpose for Marriage
I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, CSB)
I hadn’t understood the magnitude of the real purpose for marriage until I studied and started living it out.
God uses marriage as a living picture of the gospel. The husband is to be the representative of Christ, the wife to represent Christ’s Bride – the Church (all believers). Every believer’s relationship status is to point people to the gospel: our faithfulness in singleness points to the Church waiting patiently for Christ’s second coming, our faithfulness in marriage represents God’s relationship with his Bride, and our weddings are to point to the perfect unification we are promised in Christ – the eternal marriage.
It is with great humility I understand God wants to use my marriage to point people to him, that he may be glorified. May all our relationship statues always point to the gospel, to Jesus.
But God doesn’t stop right there. Not only is marriage used to glorify God by pointing others to him, he receives even more glory through the sanctification he puts us through as husbands and wives. (See #4) Yes, one of the greatest ways God uses marriage is to bring us closer to holiness, closer to himself.
3. God’s Design for Marriage
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. (Ephesians 5:22, CSB)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself to her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. (Ephesians 5:26, CSB)
Once I understood the why, I wanted to understand God’s how. Because I trust in his perfect character, I did not shy away from words like submission, respect, and helper. I embraced the differences between roles for husbands and roles for wives, and spent hours studying God’s intention for them. Because I trust that God is holding nothing good back from me, I came to learn that the roles he prepared beforehand for me are a privilege – and truly make me feel loved and cherished: God loves men and women so much to design us to compliment each other perfectly (with the help of himself), and assigned us roles we were designed with the ability to fulfill.
4. Serve God by Serving Your Spouse
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
Sanctification brings us closer to God: he is the one glorified by it. We as believers should be pursuing holiness because we love God: we desire for him to be glorified.
Everything we do for our spouse is ultimately done for Jesus. If he told us what was done for the least of these was done for him, I believe the same can be applied for those closest to us. I love serving Silas, because I love him and I want him to feel loved. But once in awhile I have to put aside my best interests for the sake of my husband. On my own I would become weary very quickly of the selflessness marriage demands. I would grow weak through all the growing pains of sanctification, if they were done solely for Silas. But because I know everything I do for him is also for the Lord, God gives me the strength and the ability to push through my fleshly habits and desires and become not only a better wife, but a better follower, and enjoy him and Silas even more.
5. Keep God First
Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
First and foremost, the most important reason to keep God first – the #1 priority, desire, and love in our life – is because he is worthy.
Secondly, I learned throughout our engagement (and during our wedding… and beyond) just how infinitely more beautiful love is because of Jesus. When I love the Lord more than anything, he gives me more love to give to Silas. He fills me with more patience, selflessness, and grace; and when I pass them on it fills me with the greatest joy. Silas and I both are imperfect, and although we both give it our all, our 100% is not enough. But because of Jesus, we will never be left unsatisfied and hungry for love. We don’t rely on our marriage to give us what only Jesus can: the pressure is lifted off us and placed rightfully upon God. Silas’ happiness isn’t depending on me striving to be the perfect wife, because he already has a perfect Savior. Just as Christ’s sacrifice gives us the freedom to pursue holiness out of love – not obligation – keeping God first gives me the freedom to become a better wife simply because I love Silas.
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, CSB)
I hope you can glean from any wisdom the Lord has been faithful to give to me. Continue to seek him, for he is worthy, and he is good. He has made this love wonderful.
a newly Married Myrick
All engagement photos by Melissa Couture Photography.