(This is a continuation of our personal marriage and family testimony. If you would like to read Part One, written by Andrew, Click here.)
Part Two: By Nikki
Matthew 20:28 — “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We left our story (part one) at the point where I (Nikki) was thriving in Young Life ministry, and Andy was struggling. We were newlyweds, but it wasn’t very honeymoon-ish! Although we were best friends, and my respect for Andy’s character and love for the Lord were still intact, I began to wonder what to do with this man who felt discontent and unsure of the next step? I wanted to spend my life with someone who would serve God and live a faith-filled life with me – and Andy was without-a-doubt that man. But at that moment, things were not shaping up how I had hoped or envisioned. And in all honesty, I wasn’t prepared for what to do about it.
Regardless of how Andy was feeling about life – I came to realize that I needed to learn a lesson. I was living for me, I wanted “the perfect life”. I believed that marriage would catapult me to a whole new place of happiness, prestige, advancement, etc. I didn’t imagine what sacrifice and service for a thriving marriage would look or feel like. I sure didn’t understand the cost!
I recognize now that I was idolizing Andy and looking for him to fulfill my needs. Through our immediate trials, God was teaching me that my spouse didn’t simply exist for me, but that we are a team to help each other along. I was forced to deal with very real emotions of disappointment and anger. But God was forging character. He was giving me a chance to serve, to be compassionate, to slow down, to learn how to truly love another person unselfishly. Ultimately, I learned how to turn to God for my fulfillment, not Andy, and not a so-called “perfect life”.
This process wasn’t pretty, (or easy!). And did I mention that it is on-going? I’m still learning! However, the habit of living for another, instead of myself, was becoming an essential ingredient in our marriage foundation.
In truth, this heart-change happened because Jesus brought the victory. Aside from God’s intervention, no one can “change themselves” to become a better wife or husband at a heart level. A spouse sees through all that behavior modification. But Jesus changed me from within. Now that is a marriage foundation you can build on!
(Part three arriving in your inbox in two weeks!)