Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Looking for a Soul Mate?

Recently, my husband's friend got a song cut on a well known soap opera. The title of the song was "Happy." I found it hilarious since that is the last word I would use to describe the life of a soap opera character!
When I was in elementary school my mother went back to the working world. After school I walked down the street to my babysitter's home and was the oldest child there by about five years so she let me stay in the living room with her while the younger children napped. During that time she watched Days of Our Lives and well, I did too. I don't remember whether or not I was interested then, but as I grew older and especially when I was too old for a babysitter, but not old enough to work, I watched it during my summer breaks and eventually during my own children's naptimes. That was until, like a switch being flipped, I decided it was a total waste of time and I just couldn't stomach the ridiculous plots and endless parade of characters coming back from the dead.

The soap operas and the fairy tales we've heard,
where over and over again, the plot and characters are shuffled and we are presented with the same tale, just revisited with new faces; the names have been changed, but the story remains. These tales have conditioned us to want, to expect the "Once upon a time.....(I met my soul mate who rescued me)....and we lived happily ever after, the end." Then there are supposed 'reality' shows where you can turn on the television to watch the ridiculous mess that ensues when a woman is presented with the world's idea of beautiful, successful men, from which she is to choose a husband. (No, don't. Don't waste your precious time. Really.)

If you do, in fact, want a 'soul mate' for life, act like it! If you know you want to be married one day, strengthen your marriage before it's even begun. No relationship you have before your spouse is going to bring honor to your future marriage. No physical relationship you have before you are married will bring goodness to the relationship you have with your spouse. I do not look fondly upon the time my husband spent with other women before he met me and he doesn't exactly rejoice over any relationships I had before him either. Sure, you'll learn about relationships when you date, but you are basically pretending to be married- the difference is that you have an 'out' because commitment is conditional in the dating relationship. There are ways of getting to know a person without putting yourself in risky situations. What does dating (today) reveal about our view of marriage?!

Looking on my short, but eventful dating life before I met my husband, and watching young girls today - from how they dress to how they spend their time makes me want something more for my children. My desire is for them to honor themselves and use their bodies in ways that are honoring to the Creator. Rather than focusing on who they are to their Maker, today's young women are wrapped up in the guy of the week, the month, or maybe even the year. They become blinded by infatuation, pretending to be 'in love,' trying to convince everyone they've found 'it' while in their gut they see signs of sin and reasons to mistrust - signs that they ignore. A girl who doubts her man's faithfulness driving around trying to see if he is, in fact, where he said he was, is not waking up to the fact that her very going to investigate is a HUGE sign that she should not be in that relationship! The warning signs are there.....but she is blinded. Her standards are lowered and she has settled for last place.

From the time I was very young, I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother. I wanted a family. The night I met my one-day-would-be husband, I remember thinking there was something different about him. I thought I could see myself marrying someone like him. Getting engaged just a few short months later, then dragging out the engagement for three and a half years while I tried to get through college and convince my family that he was indeed the man I wanted to marry wasn't easy, but I did it. Like most young girls in search of their 'one true love,' I too assumed life would be especially wonderful once I was married. Then. Then my life would start....Then-things would be easier. After all, I'd found 'the one,' my 'soul mate.'

Marriage turned out not to be not so easy. A couple months into newlywed bliss, we learned my mother-in-law had cancer. We spent the first year of our marriage coping with the process of losing her. The second year was a roller coaster; we were still reeling from her death, learned we were expecting our first child and though we wanted me to be home with our children, had no plan of action. The third year of marriage was consumed with job losses, hard to get out of bed sadness, and a lot of tears. I thought I was failing as a wife, a mother, a citizen and a child of God. I thought I was going to have to leave and start over. Instead of giving up, I opened my usually quiet mouth and asked my husband to talk to someone. Thankfully, by God's grace, he did. From that point on our marriage was different...not easy, but different. Today, we're standing together in the midst of some pretty tough life stuff, but we're together and committed.

I've heard so many times 'a marriage is not 50/50 but 100/100.' My experience has taught me that you have to be willing to give 100% even when your spouse is giving Zero and vice versa. The times I didn't think our marriage would survive another day I had to let myself be vulnerable, share my heart and pray. a lot. Thankfully, my husband is committed to doing the same. It's never easy to open your heart, it's never easy to forgive or to seek forgiveness, but if you want a strong marriage that ages with grace and strength, you have to be willing to get down in the trenches when times are tough. I could go on about the difficulties we've faced in each year of our marriage, but you get the point. I hope. Marrying 'the one' does not equal bliss. My husband is a wonderful, gifted, godly man who I love more now than I ever thought was possible. But - he is a man. Just a man. There's no one else who can make me spit nails, but there's no one on this earth I love more. I cannot be a black hole expecting him to fill every need I have.

Why are we all so enamored with Hollywood love stories that have happy endings? Why do we cry when Edward says such beautiful words to the woman he loves? I dare to say, because we believe it's out there for us! And I'll tell you - it is! Only 'it's' not an 'it.' It's Christ! We want the 'soul mate' who's the prince on the white horse, but we're looking in all the wrong places. Christ IS the perfect 'soul mate' and no earthly man can compare! Wake up to the need to re-define 'it' - 'true love,' to re-define what a 'soul mate" is.

We have to change our desire for the fairytale life and desire a biblical one where we are called to commitment and faith. We can be sure that life is going to throw us some messy, dirty, ugly stuff, but when we've chosen a spouse who loves the Lord, and is committed to 'til death do us part,' life becomes about more than what this world has to offer. Be marriage-minded and look for a spouse who will support you and encourage you in your path of sanctification, a spouse for whom you will be happy to do the same. You can stop looking to your spouse to fill the needs in your bottomless pit of a soul. Christ is the ONLY one who can fill you!

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. Johns 15:13

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:10-30

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord
does the church. Ephesians 5:25-29

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