Our Own Tapestry of Marriage: What I’ve Learned Thus Far
I’m strong, but delicate. Before marriage, I knew I was fragile in areas I kept to myself, mainly dealing with worthiness, rejection, and abandonment. I shared those feelings with my husband, but I realized that even though I did, it’s different from actually healing from them. I held pain; from the abandonment of my biological father to rejection, to a scarred journey in California, to family matters that broke my heart.
After our honeymoon in Santorini, Greece, I expected we’d travel back to the states and sail smoothly into our marriage full merriness and unrestraint. I knew there would be hardships, but not quite like the ones that came.
We met a wild and unexpected life, and we were hurting each other trying to get out if it, instead of lifting, loving, each other up out of the pain. There were nights I held the darkest streams of thought, and I couldn’t see through the black veil of depression.
Who knew what I left to wander in ache, would soon go unleashed after we walked past our marriage threshold?
I certainly knew while standing on the altar, holding Omar’s hand, that our marriage wasn’t going to be easy; I knew that from a warning in 1 Corinthians. “But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” 1 Corinthians 7:28
Yet, I thought I’d be OK with my undealt pain, but it turns out, I needed healing—a healing that seemed impossible given the circumstances around us, from broken families to emotional instabilities. This is where my delicate nature came in, but where my greatest pain also stood.
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:2
My pain, unfortunately, came out as frustration towards my husband. It’s not hard to do, what’s hard is showing love even amidst the pain. When my husband would do or say something that hurt me, it would strike the ungraceful me, the unbecoming. And it felt like nothing could change this hopeless cycle, but there was.
It’s something only grace can cover, something only God can still, and it takes remembrance. It took me backing away from the tempest in me and walking into the room with Jesus at the Last Supper, where he offered up the bread and gave thanks.
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” Luke22:19
I forgot Jesus in the moments I raised my voice, or thought darkly, or ran away. Was I showing thanksgiving by lashing out at my husband, or by cradling my pain as though it were a priority over loving my husband? Never once did I glorify my Father in doing so, and it humbled me to my core. I was hurting my husband, and I realized I didn’t want him to ever have to feel that kind of pain from me again. It felt as though God had painstakingly, tenderly, peeled back the tarnished black veil of depression from my body and I was able to be bathed again in His glorious light and warmth. I so deeply yearned to honor my God first, and my husband, and to show him who Christ was in me.
It took time, for me at least. I had to let God be who He says He is, Emmanuel, God with us, in me—to breathe and walk past my pain whenever I felt hurt, which is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, because that hurt touched the raw parts of me that had never been healed.
There’s an invisible thread of trust that lingers in all marriages, and if we’re willing to trace it, tenderly, humbly, we’ll come across the greatest tapestry in marriage.
My husband longed to help me, but I knew it was something he couldn’t fix.
“As much as I want to change you, I can’t. That’s something only God can do,” my husband whispered while he cupped my face, tears in both our eyes. My jaws tightened how the words stung, but it was true—needed, inexorably. I needed a breakthrough, and it wasn’t just an overnight laying-of-the hands scenario.
I realized it myself, that without God’s kind of love, there is no glorification of God. I can’t tell you how many times I have run straight into Omar with my pain, and I have easily slipped passed the God I love, the God I say I follow and worship, and Omar gets the brunt of my offense and ache. Failure, failure, was harshly hissed to my ears by the enemy. It took remembrance, thankfulness, to shake my head, turn around, and face back the doors I walked out on out of frustration and hurt.
“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 1:4
There it was again—that grace freely given, pardoning, sanctifying, making us whole—giving of gifts. I’d reflect on His grace that would often make my throat catch, bringing tears to my eyes, filling me so full. It would be that vast, holy love, that overwhelmed my soul until it finally changed me.
Beloved, don’t ever forget My living grace.
In marriage, I never knew it would bring to the surface all of my weaknesses so clearly; it’s as though I were wearing another veil on my wedding day that waited to be lifted after our honeymoon. I was unaware of it. I was unaware of that black, hidden, torn veil that would reveal the broken me.
It took my husband and me nearly half a year to get to where we are today. Though we are newlyweds, we know times will come, but we have changed because of God’s hand in our marriage. I’ve learned that I need to stop imagining my husband intentionally hurts me, and instead, intentionally, purposefully, loves me. I’ve come to know that marriage is God’s reflection of love and unrelenting grace. How will I reflect the God in me, my Christ, to my husband? I daily strive to treat him as though I were treating Christ and the way Christ treats me. It has changed the trajectory of our married life.
And here’s the tapestry of our marriage, and I believe, of all holy marriages under God—the fingers and workmanship of our Father. He is not only our weaver, our Creator, but the very fiber of what holds us together, and to us, that continues to hold our tangles, the breaking of our threads, at bay.
“I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else.” Colossians 2:2-3