Rachel and Jake,
Last year I wrote to you about what I felt to be some pretty important relationship advice. I plan to continue to do that each year on your father’s and my anniversary as a way to share with you some things that I have learned about what it takes and what it means to grow in love. I am not an expert, just a Mama trying to share my thoughts on what can make a marriage work in today’s “what have you done for me, lately” world. Maybe by the time you are older the world won’t be so “me focused.” …I hope that is the case!
So, without further adieu, here is your #7 relationship tip from your dear old Mom.
#7.) Remember Who you were made for.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
It’s hard to really articulate this piece of advice, because it’s something that needs to be more of a “belief” or a way of thinking rather than something I could just tell you so that you’d remember to apply it to your life. Society today (and I’d imagine it would be even more so in the next coming years) tends to objectify both women and men. Some people can look at women and men as an object or as something that should please them (ex. “She shouldn’t wear that type of bathing suit when she looks like that.” or “Wow, I want to date him–he makes a lot of money!” ).
My advice to you–You are not an object or something to be used in order to please another person. You are not disposable and should never be treated as such in a relationship. You belong to God, and He loves you unconditionally just the way you are. He knows your struggles and your strengths and will always be there for you when you need Him.
This is similar to the way your relationship should be with your spouse. When you get married, the vows you take bind you to your spouse for an eternity. It is not just an earthly commitment that is a convenient tax break or until something better comes along. When you say “I do” you are saying that you promise to love that person for an eternity. Yes, you might have some cool looking “bling” on your finger because of it, but your rings are simply an outward symbol for the seal on your heart binding you to your spouse. Although you are married, it is important that you both recognize that even though you love each other more than any other person on this earth, your greatest love is waiting for you in heaven. Your spouse should be someone who recognizes that this life is not all there is in store for you. You and your spouse should be a team that works together so that you can both reach your highest potential while you are here on earth. That sounds like a big job–and when looking at it as a whole picture, it can sound pretty overwhelming– so here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help see if your spouse is helping you reach your full potential.
1.) What is the big picture of our relationship? Where are we headed? Do we work together towards a common goal that we both feel called towards? If not, what can we do to change that?
2.) Do we encourage each others thoughts, dreams and desires? Do we value the life path that our spouse has chosen?
3.) Are we communicating effectively to get our thoughts and feelings across in a respectful yet direct way?
If you answer no to one or all of these questions, then one or both of you may end up feeling defeated or not valued in your relationship. When one person is unhappy, it can change the dynamics of your relationship and your life. Work hard to make each other happy in a way that lifts your partner up to be the best they can be. Be careful that you do not objectify each other in a “what have you done for me lately” kind of way or think that the other person is there specifically to please you, you are worth more than that. Remember–life is not just about you, it’s about Him!
When your dad and I were married (7 years ago today!) we both had common goals for where we wanted to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc. We knew we wanted to be married for a few years before we had children and we hoped and prayed that we would be blessed as parents one day. We knew we wanted to retire early and live out our golden years on the beautiful beaches of North Carolina. Our beliefs are similar, our goals are similar and our overall outlook on life is similar. I’m not saying it can’t be done without these things, I’m just saying that life will be smoother for you if these things align.
I love you both very much. More than you could ever know.