Growing up I never had a tangible view of a successful marriage. I was what they call a “statistic.” I was of the percentage of children raised in a single-parent home due to a divorce. Anyway, my absolute favorite show to watch was the Cosby Show. I grew up dreaming that my marriage would be just like theirs. We would have family jokes, my husband and I would sit and listen to jazz all evening in expensive silk pajamas, our arguments would end in us feeding each other cakes and pies and giving each other foot massages. We would automatically know how to handle disciplining our children and when to tag team, etc. The year of 2006 I was in for a rude awakening. This is the year I married my husband. We were not best friends or high school sweet hearts. We were two people who fell in love with each other and figured the rest would work itself out. (I later learned this was infatuation not love.)
Shortly after the honeymoon reality set in. The arguments arose, the issues we ignored during our two and a half year courtship surfaced and I was under the impression that we were supposed to pattern ourselves after the Huxtables! I started blaming my husband for ignoring me because he didn’t romance me every night of the week. You see unlike Cliff, he was working two jobs, back to back. His concern was paying bills, not rubbing my feet. One night we had a huge argument and he belted out, “I can’t reach these unrealistic expectations you have!!” And he was right (insert Empowermoment here!). My expectations were unrealistic. Not only that, they were unfair, disrespectful and ridiculous. Expecting him to act like Cliff, or any other “dreamy” husband was a direct blow to his character. It spoke, “you are not good enough as you are, and I need you to strive to be like so and so.” If God had not taken us through a series of events that exposed both of our weaknesses and taught us how to be each other’s “right hand man”, best friend, and even more, I do not know where we would be. Almost seven years later he jokes about how I “thought” we were the Huxtables, because I now know that expectation was ridiculous. We are the Burtons, we have defined our own marriage on God’s terms, we set our own rules and boundaries as guided by God, and recognize that we have a journey to enjoy opposed to a journey to endure.
There are two lessons that I learned from this misconception. Chapter 5 of Ephesians goes into greater detail with instructions on how to imitate Christ, but verse 22, “Wives submit to your OWN husband as you do unto the Lord,” gave new meaning. This command does not read submit to my husband as Claire would to Cliff, as First Lady Michelle Obama would to President Obama, or even as Tiny would to T.I., but as YOU would unto the LORD. This means, the submission to your OWN husband should be a reflection of your submission to Christ….OUCH!! The second lesson in this was that wives are to respect their husbands. Would you say it is respectful or disrespectful to expect your spouse to act like another man? Disrespectful!! I’m learning everyday how to fulfill my duty to respect him in ways I didn’t even know existed, but thanks to the Helper, the Holy Spirit, I am certain I am being steered in the right direction. I just have to listen.
When he asked me to marry him I didn’t realize I was signing up for the most important ministry in my life. Thank You for revealing to us Your Word so that we may learn it, live it, and share it! Please help us as wives and wives to be, to be humble in Your statutes, listeners and lovers to our husbands and women after Your own heart. Help us to look to the gift You gave US to cherish and not yearn to imitate someone else’s. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Ladies, Single or Married, I EMPOWER you not to try and design your marriage or your future marriage using someone else’s pattern. Allow God to take the lead. Pay attention to your mate, his quirks, weird ways, and all the things that make him who he is. After all, when we try to fit someone into someone else’s mold, it always ends up breaking.
Have you ever had an “AH-HA” moment during an argument with your spouse, in which the Holy Spirit redirected your attitude towards healing your marriage? Share with us your testimony in a comment below, on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet.
Read a Related EmpowerMoment: The Reality of Relationships
As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a 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 and her husband serve as Co-Service leaders and Co-Group leaders of SustainedLove, which supports marriage get-a-ways from Family Life. Khalilah 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 two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.