23 Dec 5 Days ’til Christmas: Day 3 | Your Greatest Fear
The third day of our Christmas marriage advice series is brought to you by our son Michael and his wife Jelena. What you may not know is that Michael and Jelena work ‘behind-the-scenes’ on the Intimate Couple website! Kudos to Michael as this Christmas Marriage Advice Series was his idea!
Here, Michael and Jelena both weigh in on lessons learned in their marriage.
Day 3: Your Greatest Fear
Being married two years isn’t very long, but there are still a few things Jelena and I have experienced that we’d be honoured to share with you.
Committing to your spouse — not your idea of who they are.
When we get married, there may be certain perceptions or ideas that we hold about our spouse. But the reality is that the person you marry will be very different 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Not only is this because we get to know them better, but life changes us. Our personality, goals, and desires can all change and evolve. What makes a marriage last is the commitment to the other person.
To be known and NOT loved is the greatest fear for many people, but I know that Jelena is committed to me and I to her. This foundation gives us the freedom to express ourselves and be honest without the fear of rejection or judgment.
In closing, I would love to share this quote with you from Timothy Keller:
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Marriage has an uncanny way of bringing out the best of us, and sometimes even the worst of us!
I caught myself just a few weeks ago wondering if Michael would rather I had the qualities and characteristics of some other wives that I personally admire. And so, I asked him: “Do you ever wish I was more like [so and so]? That I was more of that kind of a wife?”.
His reply astounded me, as he said, “Jelena, I would never want you to change for my benefit; I’d only want you to change if it were for your benefit”.
At that moment, I couldn’t have been more thankful to be married to him! I see how Jim and Carrie’s loving marriage over the years have helped to shape him into the husband that he is today, and the even more amazing man he is in the process of becoming! For that I am forever grateful.
All of this reminds me of what Timothy Keller writes concerning what it means to truly love your spouse:
It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!’”
Marriage is one of the loveliest, most intimate, and yet also most difficult of relationships. We can choose to see God’s best version of our spouse, even as they haven’t yet become that (nor have we!); we can also choose to pursue the other person’s greatest good (we all know that dying to ourselves and perhaps our own selfish ambitions isn’t always easy, now is it?).
The last two years have taught me that if we allow it, marriage really can refine us, grow us, and make us into that magnificent creation that God purposed us to be. Michael has seen the worst of me, and yet he has loved me through it! Best of all, he’s reminded me of who he sees I am becoming by God’s grace — those precious glimpses, as Keller would say!
Michael and Jelena wrote their own thoughts before realizing they were both touching on this same topic of seeing your spouse for the amazing person they are becoming! How cute is that? Thank you for sharing, Michael and Jelena!