16 October, 2009
When you get married you're suddenly part of a team. If you're sure that God wanted you to marry (and presumably you wouldn't have done it if you weren't) then you have to also assume that His plans for each of you are inextricably linked. With some things they may be more about one of you - a promotion at work for example - but the other is still part of it. Other things, often the big things in life, require even more team work. I'm talking about deciding whether or not to make a big move or to travel to some far flung place with a missionary team, deciding if you want children and when, or making the financial leap from both working nine 'til fives to something less secure. That's when it can get tricky.
Take one of those examples - say, when to have children. That's a big deal for any couple. In theory you might have your principals; maybe you firmly believe starting a family young is best or maybe you think you should see a bit of life together before sharing it with dependents. But really, theory goes out of the window at some point and, humans that we are, feelings come into it. We get into trouble when we take God out of it and just base our feelings on our own wants. Say you want a baby and your spouse isn't ready (or you want to jet off to Africa and your spouse doesn't, or any other example) then do you really think it's the right time? Or do you just wish it was? From my experience, the time is right when you feel - you BOTH feel - a sense of peace about a decision. You wanting a baby, or to travel, or to move to a remote Scottish island does not make it the right thing. If it's the right time and you're both talking to God regularly enough to hear Him then you will know about it and you will both feel totally comfortable with the decision. You may be apprehensive or scared or unsure about how it all comes together but you will be at peace. If you're not in that state, both of you, then it's not right.
For someone like me, Little Mrs Impatient at the best of times, that's tough to take. I want things when I want them even though I know that God has a plan that's not just different but better than my gut instincts ever could be. Sure I could go and rent a house in my dream location and tell my husband that if he really loved me he'd come with me, or I could stop taking that little pill in the morning without telling him and "accidentally" fall pregnant (or take it without telling him and not fall pregnant if he gets broody before me!). But all that would highlight was a marriage that was failing at a fundamental level. That would be a marriage with no team work at all. If I didn't trust him with absolutely everything and if I wasn't willing for him, as the head of our household, to finalise our decisions, then why on Earth would I have married him?!
In the end I like to look at it this way: God knows my heart and its desires. He knows what is ahead of me and what lies behind. If I am waiting to hear when is the right time to move, change job, have children, or anything else then He will make it known. In the meantime, He has other plans! He's not waiting in silence until it's time for this one event; I can spend all my time moping about wanting something or I can find out what I'm meant to be up to in the meantime. Because maybe I have lessons to learn and things to do, jobs to work in for a couple of years, something else to make of my life, or just time to serve before I get what I think I want now. And when God whispers "now" into my ear and into the ear of my husband we'll know and it will be so good because it will all be happening at the perfect time. I can try and convince myself that what I want must be right because I want it and maybe my friends already have it, I can even try to put pressure on my husband to feel the same way I do, OR I can get on with life, enjoy how it is now and be the team member I swore I would be on the day we exchanged rings.
Waiting on God is always the most important thing with any decision. In a marriage it has to be a team effort.