We have officially been married 40 days!
"40 days" is a pretty significant number in the Bible, so it got me thinking this morning about what it means.
In Matthew, Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days. He had no food or water. He resisted the devil and his temptations in the midst of hunger/thirst.
In Exodus, Moses received instruction from the Lord on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. He came down from the mountain with a radiant glow.
For 40 days after Jesus' death and resurrection, he showed himself to his chosen apostles to teach them about the kingdom of God and to continue to reveal to them that he is alive!
I think of each of these instances and what the Lord has spoken to me over the past 40 days of marriage.
1. Jesus had to stay connected with the Father during his 40 days in the desert in order to resist temptation. I'm sure it was no easy task for him. It was work: work of the spirit, work of the mind, work of his emotions. In the same way, I've learned that marriage is work. There is still temptation to resist. Temptation over past sin, temptation to want to please myself more than my husband. It is work of my heart, mind and spirit to put my husband and God before myself. In the midst of the temptations though, the Lord has taught me what a wonder gift it is to have a husband walking beside me who prays for me and loves me unconditionally. A gift, indeed.
2. Just as Moses received instruction from the Lord, I feel that the Lord has used these past 40 days to build me up as a woman of God! I have learned a whole new side of God through marriage! Men do not think like women. Nor should we expect them too! But it's easy in my selfishness to want Mike to be just like me--to think as I think, and to think ahead of me so he can meet all my needs! haha. BUT, this isn't reality. And reality is this: God has blessed me with a husband that teaches me new things all the time, one who gives up things that he wants to do to spend time with me, one who reads and prays with me each night, one who calls me beautiful and desires to put God first in our relationship. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been easy for us--false expectations and bad communication have gotten in the way a time or two--but when we come back to God's Word and instruction, we are reminded that love isn't about ourselves. It's about God and others.
3. Just as Jesus revealed himself to his apostles for 40 days, the Lord has continued to reveal himself to me over these past 40 days of marriage. I've been reminded time and time again that my joy/happiness/completeness CANNOT come from Mike alone. The first week after our honeymoon, I was pretty down. It felt as though my whole world had been flipped around. I was now living in a new house, in a new town, boxes every where, I was now living with a boy, sleeping with a boy, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders telling me that I needed to do certain 'wifey' things in order to measure up to being a good wife. I was spending so much time and energy thinking about all these things, that I also allowed my time with God to slip. What I learned though through this is: A. I need time to adjust after change! and B. God MUST come first over my husband and over my own desires. If he isn't first I get exhausted trying to carry the weight of the world on my own shoulders.
And just like Moses, who came down the mountain with a radiant glow after spending 40 days and 40 nights with the Lord, I'd have to say that Mike and I are glowing! Marriage is hard work, but it is also so rewarding when you put time into making it something great!
I've only been married 40 days, but I will leave you with this advice:
1. spend time with the Lord each day--lifting up your spouse/marriage in prayer.
2. put the other person first, without expecting anything in return. And remember, they are human and may not notice, but God does and he says "well done, my good and faithful servant."
3. spend time together with your spouse reading God's Word and praying together.
4. have a date night each week that makes you focus on your relationship. You may laugh and say you don't have time. But I promise you, if you make it a priority, it'll help your marriage.