“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
I went into our marriage with preconceived notions and unrealistic hopes and aspirations. My husband and I joke about it now, but during my enlightenment it wasn’t so funny. I remember distinctively, during marriage maintenance prior to our wedding, our first session was about our family structure around marriage. My parents were divorced when I was 10 or so, so all of my “ideas” of marriage came from television. Yep, that’s right; I looked at the Huxtables for my marital pattern. If not them movies that showed cute and fun marriages that had facial expressions that meant a thousand words and TV shows that featured older couples that laughed, joked, and “complimented” each other ALL THE TIME. I have to give credit where credit is due; my husband’s views were more realistic, so I am grateful for his patience while I came into the reality of what defined our marriage, but it took me a few years.
I came into our marriage with expectations that my husband was not designed to fulfill by MY prompting. Unbeknownst to me he could only fulfill them in God’s timing. I was stressing him with internal pressure that started to turn us into opponents. Not enemies, but opponents. He was supposed to have me laughing hysterically like my Dad. He was supposed to be comically romantic like Bill Cosby. I expected him to pray ferociously over me like that Pastor and First Lady I saw at that conference. We were supposed to be able to have inside jokes and laugh out loud like the couple I saw at the restaurant. He was supposed to be overprotective of my well-being since I lacked that growing up.
After I faced all of these issues through years of “adjusting to each other”, I realized I was not being fair. I gave my husband the problems instead of asking for God to heal them. Not only was I not being fair, I was not cherishing the man God gave to me. I would ask God sometimes, “Lord, I prayed over this marriage and you said go forward, why do I feel so forced and so ‘fake’? Why am I chasing after the ‘ideal’ marriage?” At one point God took me to a low point in my “wifeyhood.” This was when I learned that marriage is NOT for punks. God showed me that with every “expectation” and every “insinuation”, not only was I disrespecting the head of my house, but I was infringing upon the ego, soul, and purpose of my husband. I was poisoning the blessings God gave me. I was “trampling” over my husband’s character. My notions and actions emitted an arrogance of “you aren’t good enough.” I never “said” it, but my aura exhibited it.
When I was fully convicted of this and prompted to change, God took me through a series of mirrors. He showed me how my husband is the only person on this earth that can be as patient and delicate with me. He is the only tangible being that can show me myself and how to correct it in love. He showed me that my mouth was speaking death over his efforts and the fruits of my marriage…because “I knew everything.” I went through a period of “hush and heed”. I hushed and just watched my husband and heeded to the prompts of the Holy Spirit. I took a back seat, slowed down, and allowed God to take the steering wheel. God began to reveal to me my husband’s core of strength and integrity. Watching his natural swagger made my heart go pitter patter and I fell in a new love with him. God showed me the error of my ways. I was so unfair to my husband. How could I try to compare him to fictitious TV? Now my husband jokes and says, “You thought you were in a marriage like the Cosby’s.” I’m still appalled at how he even knew those were my motives. But in my defense, that was all I knew.
We’ll be the first to say our marriage is far from perfect. We both have issues that we deal with daily. We even joke with new couples sometimes and tell them DON’T GET MARRIED!! Not because we don’t cherish ours, but it really shows you who you are and it is a task, yet a labor of love. Through years (well, not that many) of checks and balances and trial and error, I laugh when I catch us laughing hysterically in OUR OWN WAY at each other or when we have family Bible studies or prayer in OUR OWN WAY or when he unconsciously grabs my hand to guide me when we are in crowds, when we sit in silence, yet our flirts are so loud, or even when we fight and just look at each other and say “this is petty.fight’s over.” There’s no foot rub make-up or jazz dances like the Cosby’s, but it’s in OUR OWN WAY that we love and forgive, and it has become the fabric of the muscles within my heart.
Thank You for sparing the quality things in my life until I was able to handle and appreciate them. Thank You for placing these treasures in my life that build me and make me stronger. Lord, I pray for every marriage out there, mine included. Whether it is under attack, in a rough patch, or cruising in marital bliss, Lord I plead Your covering of protection, cooperation, and communication. As wives, Lord please teach us how to be pleasing and a doer of Your Word so that we may be able to fulfill our roles in the marriage. Lord bless every husband, especially the ones with “know it all wives”, to be patient and to love her with patience and kindness until she gets it right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Ladies, whether you are married or on the way, I EMPOWER you to remove any ideas out of your head of other marriages and trying to mimic those. Allow God to steer, ordain, and orchestrate the ideals within your marriage. It’s good to say, “I want to have great communication like the Johnsons.” But saying, “I want my husband to communicate with me the way Bob Johnson communicates with Shana” is dangerous. Trust God, and He will teach you how to trust your husband. Love God and He will teach you how to love your husband. Therefore, what God has put together let no one separate (Mark 10:9 NIV)….even if it is YOU.
For more on marriage, read: Must We Do Everything Together?
As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.