I went into marriage “ knowing” all the facts. I did all the right things in preparation for the perfect marriage; I had read and revised Proverbs 31 over and over, poured over a dozen books, blogs and sermons on the subject. I spoke to a number of married women, taking mental notes on tips and tricks to a happy home. I even got the occasional pat on my back on how much of a great wife I would make! My home would look good enough to be featured in a Good Housekeeping magazine and kids wouldn't be able to get enough of Gesly Aunty's double chocolate chip cookies.
All this and much more filled my imagination as I counted down the days until my wedding. So there I was, all prepped, excited and ready to strut down that aisle and step into being the new and improved 21st Century Proverbs 31 Superwoman!
Well, from the beginning of marriage I realized that nothing could be further from the truth. Life hurled its share of unexpected twists and turns that I wasn't ready for. Now, at just over a year and half since we said I do, I have seen God slowly chipping away my pride and working with my imperfections to not just be the perfect wife for my husband, but He's also at work on my character and making me into the person He wants me to be.
Well that said, there were many shocking truths that God graciously revealed to me about myself through marriage and I wanted to share those with you today in hopes it will encourage you if you too went into marriage with the same attitude I had. Here are just a very few of the things I've learned:
I have always pictured that my kitchen would be a quaint place that always smelled like freshly baked cookies. In spite of not having any prior experience in the kitchen (thanks to years of staying in hostels), I thought I would be one those people who could “whip–up-something-amazing” in under thirty minutes for those guests that just showed up and people would be raving about my culinary skills while all the women asked me for my recipes at the end of the meal. Well, the reality is I can be an absolute disaster in the kitchen. I am one of those people who needs to carefully plan all my meals a week ahead or else I go into panic mode. Many are my kitchen disasters. My most infamous being that I burned an entire kilo of rice along with destroying my mother in law's rice cooker!
Since I could remember I have enjoyed all those home makeover shows. I had all these ideas of what my home would look like. Guests would enjoy a cup of tea with my specialty cookies while overlooking the bay widow into my perfectly manicured backyard-- I had it all down to the tee. Well, we finally move into a place of our own two months back and as I write this, I am still surrounded by bland, unpainted, white walls and unpacked boxed because I keep going back and forth between wall paint options and “what should go where?”
“….She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household…” (Proverbs 31:15) Ugh! I cringe every time I read that verse. How we love to hate that verse! Many of us have seen our moms wake up before the entire household, prepare a three course Indian breakfast, get the kids ready for school, iron dad's work clothes, clear the kitchen and still not loose it! Well, in my ignorance I thought that it would be only the most natural thing for me to wake up early once my “responsible-wifey" hormones kicked in and I would be more than ready to seize the day. Turns out that it takes three rounds of snoozing of my alarm and a mental rehearsal of “I can do all things through Christ” before I can pull myself out of the bed covers.
“ Love your neighbour as yourself." It was one of the simplest yet most powerful statements Jesus ever said. We often forget that it wasn’t a statement but a commandment by Christ himself. Its been two months since we moved to our new apartment and I shamefully admit I have no clue what my next door neighbour even looks like! I have yet to knock their door with a batch of freshly baked cookies. I am way off the mark on this one and have yet to take that first step in living out the gospel to my neighbour.
There's nothing like marriage to bring you to realize the severity of the wretchedness of your sinful state. God revealed to me through marriage and a patient and loving husband, the reality and existence of the more subtle sins of the heart: pride, selfishness, sluggishness or that simmering anger let out by heavy sighs, huffs and puffs and the occasional unannounced emotional outburst. I can almost hear all the married women say “Amen” to that. Over time and seasons of life marriage exposes the nooks and crannies of the heart that you never even knew existed-- the good, bad and the ugly.
The truth and the bittersweet realization is that I can “know” all the rules and guidelines on how to be the perfect wife, but still fail. I fail because I often want to be the wife I want to be instead of the one He wants me to be and forget to lean on Christ rather than my set of books and blogs.
You may feel like you are only inching up this hill rather than cruising through with flying colours. Fret not sister! Here’s the secret, no one has it altogether! Though it took me few tears and many prayers I have reached a point where I am glad that I am no Superwoman. It was God's way of breaking my pride and so I would completely trust Him. Nothing like marriage has bought me to my knees on a daily basis for wisdom and a change of heart.
So ladies, next time you clean up the stove top after milk has boiled over (again), or gasp at the penalty for an overdue bill, stare at a never-ending to do list or burn a rice cooker, let these words ring in your heart:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
What was your first year of marriage like? Did you go into it, like me, thinking you were Superwoman only to discover nothing was further from reality?