Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (9)

8. Marital blessing (a)

and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” Mark 10:8

Married or single, it is all for the glory of God! He sanctifies in singleness and in marriage. I am so thankful God has protected my heart for the one I am happily married to now. It was a totally unexpected gift for me to marry my best friend from across the ocean (read our story here). Each year the Lord has brought us closer as a couple, as one! The process can be challenging but it is always so rewarding for His eternal purposes and for our good.  

When people heard about bits and pieces of our love story, they always wanted to know more. We love each other and I absolutely adore my husband. Six years of friendship before our marriage laid a good foundation for our married life. He is my hero, my rock and my joy in this life. I wish I could say we lived happily ever after the wedding day back in 2006. However, no matter how much we tried to be ready before marriage, when two VERY different and sinful people live together for an extended period of time, clashes are doomed to happen. In fear of conflict and/or my lack of language abilities, we hardly fought or argued early in our marriage. Everything seemed perfect from the outside.

A little glimpse of the kind of city life I knew

I didn’t grow up from a Christian family and had no clue about how a Christian wife should live in real life. I was overwhelmed at times when I felt like marrying my best friend could also be the most lonely journey. I set my hopes and expectations high. I felt the  pressure to witness for Christ as many new believers and non-believers were watching how a cross-cultural marriage would turn out. I expected my mate to experience the joys and sorrows the same way or even the same time as I did. My heart was growing tender to my beloved. My desires were intimate. My needs were not openly expressed. For all the reasons above and many more I can’t think of now, I started to notice myself telling our love story with less passion but more rote. I knew something was going wrong in terms of my ideally passionate relationship with my husband, even with my Lord! I let life just happen instead of earnestly seeking and investing into that oneness with God and with my husband. No one, but Jesus, can bring me true joy and contentment. The moment I set my happiness on a human being, I was setting myself up for heartaches and disappointment. Ultimately, marriage is a powerful God-ordained sanctification tool.

Well, for the year of 2014, one way for us to become closer was definitely in seeking, purchasing, designing, fixing and building a house with a prayerful heart and busy hands. It was not just about the house but a process in bringing us together as a team through a common mission. Marriage, ideally, allows us to be who we are without judgment or fear. By God’s grace, we grew closer than ever through this home-building mission. We are more loved and accepted by each other for who we truly are.

Life has many layers of its own complexity: kids, jobs, dreams, frustrations, hobbies, preferences, holidays, sickness, deaths, etc.. Our marriage is enriched as we walk through various aspects of life in different seasons with our spouse. Intimacy requires openness and honesty. But, a pleaser can be very hard to read. Owning a house encouraged me to speak up for areas I never bothered mentioning while renting. The intensity of those decisions pushed us to exchange ideas more frequently, which my husband always encouraged me to do.

We are also grateful for expanded perspectives towards others’ lives. Due to the time restraint to get many things done within a short time, we worked a lot on the house, especially my husband. This was an unusual season in our life. There were days we hardly saw or talked to each other or both went to our floor/bed exhausted (we didn’t own a bed so just slept on the floor). Meanwhile, we were glad that this was just for a season. We have gained more understanding for the struggles many families are going through, and more appreciation of the path God has laid out for us to have more family time though with less income. We see parallel life in a marital relationship does no good in becoming one in the long run. Our time apart pushed us more into prayers for each other, for God’s work in bringing us together. The marital blessing for the past year definitely goes deeper and it is not something the world would consider a blessing at first sight. God’s plans are much bigger than we can see. True treasures are worth digging, aren’t they?

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