Growing up I always had this fantasy of what it would be like to get married. The perfect home, perfect husband, enough money to go around, etc. As I got older that picture became a little more in focus as I began to understand the complexities of bringing two people together as one. Needless to say, my perfect image didn’t hold up when compared to real life. While this may sound negative, I do not mean it to be. Marriage is an incredible gift that I have been privileged to be a part of for a little over a year now. Our life is far from a perfect fantasy, but I am grateful that God has given me what I need in my husband and our life together.
That being said, marriage is hard work. It takes time, commitment, and an intentional focus to grow and mature the relationship. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is out of a recent disagreement I had with my husband. It is something that has caused some disagreements throughout our marriage, but it has taken some time, thought, wise counsel, and prayer to better understand the lesson I am to learn from it.
My husband loves to play video games. He can stay up and play for hours without getting sleepy or tired of it. I do not share this same love, and dare I say I might even really dislike them. (Side note: I know that he would love to play with me, so I am willing to try to spend time doing something he loves. This is sometimes part of marriage, sacrifice and doing something because your partner loves it). In my mind it has been clear that too much time playing video games takes away from our much-needed time together. What I am coming to realize is that there is a balance. My husband needs some down time. He needs time to relax, chill out, and do something he enjoys. This does not speak to his lack of desire to spend time with me, but to his desire to maintain who he is and be true to the things he enjoys.
It has been a tough lesson for me. I have realized that being married is not spending time together 24/7. It is being intentional with the time you have, while also allowing the other person to maintain their identity (including their likes and desires). It has become more obvious that in my life I have lost the ability to maintain pieces of who I am because I am a wife (with a relationship and home to maintain). Being a wife does not define me. Being a therapist does not define me. Jesus defines me. He created me uniquely with likes, dislikes, passions, etc. It is not His desire that I would lose who I am in my marriage.
Learning this lesson seems simple, but it has been profound for me. I want to maintain who I am because I know I will be a better wife, therapist, friend, and follower of Christ because of it. My prayer lately has been to allow the Lord to show me new hobbies or passions I can pursue that encourage my growth and identity in Him. My hope is that in sharing what I have learned, it may help others who feel a little lost in their marriages, or maybe even just lost in life. Seek God, read His Word, and He will guide you into being who He has called you to be. An individual fully loved, fully known, with an identity completely defined by Him.