My Facebook news feed was recently flooded with an article named “It Matters Whom You Marry.” Since I was repeatedly seeing the link just days before my wedding, I saved the article to read at a later date; turns out, the later date was today, my one-month wedding anniversary.
A quick summary of this article includes a story of a young Christian girl, sitting between two completely different boys, obviously with affections towards the “wrong” one. Instead of choosing the young man serving others and clearing dishes at the dinner, the girl’s boyfriend got angry with her and intentionally spilled juice all over her white shirt and leather jacket. “She picked the wrong guy, and…is in for some grief if that relationship continues and especially if it leads to marriage,” the author writes.
I think back to all the “wrong guys” I’ve chosen in the past, and sometimes find myself in shock that I finally found my way to the right guy. I met my husband when I was twenty years old, and not once, in the 12 years since that date, have I met a man that was more respectful, amazing, honorable, thoughtful, humble, or loving than Wes Berry. In the bible study that I’m currently reading, the entry that has stuck out to me the most is the one that tells us that we, as Christians, find it so easy to believe IN God, but not to believe God. We know He’s real; we know He loves us; we know He sent his Son to die in order to forgive our sins. What we do NOT allow ourselves to believe, however, is the collection of promises He gives us. He wants nothing but the best for all of His children. He wants our life on this Earth to be as similar to our future in Heaven as possible! Why do we have such a hard time believing that? Why did I think the closest I would ever be to having a Wes Berry in my life was to have him as a distant friend? It is so easy for us to accept mediocrity, or even worse, below average, and THAT IS NOT WHAT IS INTENDED FOR US!
Unmarried women, young and old, listen to me. There are SO MANY wrong guys out there. In fact, you may be dating one of them. The article I mentioned above tells us over and over that whom you marry DOES matter, and that’s because of how impactful to your life marriage actually is. I want to take each of the main components of the article and give you personal examples of how marriage has affected my life.
1. Marriage will impact you spiritually. There is a reason this is listed first. Married couples typically seem to find themselves with the same interests, same hobbies, same beliefs. While Wes and I are both on a high level of baseball love and knowledge, my spiritual experience severely lacks the experience he has been through. However, that wasn’t a deterrent to him. Wes has been so eager to answer my biblical and church-related questions, and hasn’t once hesitated to lead me in the direction I needed to go in order to get to know our Lord better. While my comfort zone includes praying only to myself, Wes has nudged me, repeatedly, to pray outloud each night before we go to sleep. The moments in our bed before sleep each night have become some of my favorites each day because I know that Wes is eager to hear what is on my heart, as well as God listening (and answering!) the prayers we both speak outloud to Him.
2. It will impact you emotionally. As anyone that has read my blog knows, I made some decisions a year ago that impacted my life very significantly. I left a high-paying job in order to enroll in school full time, taking a $$38,000 pay cut. If it hadn’t been for my then-boyfriend, I wouldn’t have been able to survive. While I was writing research papers and creating brochures and newsletters, Wes was working overtime, picking up side jobs, even beginning his own business in order to make enough money to support me and pay our bills. Through all of that, he didn’t complain once; in fact, he did the opposite. He stayed more excited and determined than I did at times, constantly encouraging and reminding me of what our goal was. I honestly couldn’t have graduated college without Wes, my biggest cheerleader and supporter.
3. It will impact you physically. When Wes and I first started talking about marriage, he said it was extremely important to him that he ask my parents’ blessing. While I thought this notion was sweet, I didn’t think it was necessary. On the day he proposed, and surprised me with my family and a group of our closest friends, my parents told me that he had driven down one day to spend some time with them, and, of course, ask their permission to propose to me. In his speech to them, he promised that he would always provide for me, giving me a roof over our heads, food to eat, and enough money to pay our bills. This man has held his word. In the days and months when we stare at our bank accounts and budgets, asking ourselves how we will make it to the next week, Wes has never let us be homeless, go without heat, not have food to eat, or even have times of fun and entertainment. Ladies, the right man will ALWAYS provide a life for you that protects you and your physical health.
4. It will impact you mentally. The list of questions the writer of this article asks is: Is the man that you’re thinking of going to be a source of worry or will he help you deal with your worries? Is he going to encourage your intellectual development, or will he neglect it? Is he going to value your opinions and listen to what you are thinking, or will he disregard your thoughts? Is he going to help you manage stress so that your mind is not burdened that way, or is he going to let you struggle through issues alone? Is he going to care for you and be thoughtful of you if you are experiencing mental strain, or will he ignore it? I have always had a slight issue with depression and anxiety, and these are issues that I “warned” Wes about early on. Instead of laughing at me or blowing it off, my future husband looked me in the eyes and asked, “what is the best way I can help when these issues arise?” Before any major decision has been made throughout our relationships, Wes came to me first, asking my opinion, wanting to know how it was going to affect me and our life together. Wes empowers me not only in my own life, but in his as well. When I am struggling with a lack of motivation, or moments of low self-esteem, Wes is the one that lets me know how much I am loved, by him, by God, by my family, by our friends. There is no greater mental growth than the one that comes from a supportive and encouraging partner.
5. It will impact you relationally. I like to think it’s a common occurrence that all teenage girls don’t get along with their mothers; it makes me feel better about how badly I treated my mom while I was growing up. Realizing the harsh words I spoke for over a decade while living in my parents’ house causes grief for me, but I am not sure this realization would have occurred without Wes. When we began dating, and I started bringing him to my family gatherings, Wes never scolded me about how I spoke to my mom, but instead asked me deep, personal questions about my relationship with her. For months and months, without my knowledge (until later), Wes would pray for my (and her) heart to be healed from the difficulties we went through when I was younger, and that a healing would come down and touch our relationship. Now, while Mom and I still have our silly arguments, I am so grateful for the forgiveness and grace that have come into my heart, and hers, and for the significant growth that our relationship has experienced. In 30 years, I never had a friend or boyfriend that challenged me to forgive myself and my mother for the difficulties we caused for each other. Wes did that. I am ashamed and embarrassed for the way I talked to and treated my mother for so long, but know that she has loved and forgiven me unconditionally.
When Wes and I began dating, he promised me one thing: the three Ps. He promised he would always PREFER, PROTECT, and PROVIDE. He has and will always prefer me over anyone else he knows, he will protect me from anything negative this world can throw at me, and he will provide for me a life that he believes I am worthy of. On the one-month anniversary of our wedding, I wanted to write a tribute to one of the RIGHT men. I married a man that has brought me closer to Christ, has made me mentally and emotionally stronger, has focused on my physical health, and encouraged a reconciliation between family members and I that has literally changed my life. The author of the “It Matters Whom You Marry” article was so dead-on in her analysis of the things that are really important in building a relationship. While there may be stories of people changing their habits, typically, the person you meet, and possibly find yourself attracted to, is the person he (or she) will be ten, twenty, even sixty years from now. Be with someone that loves you as much as you love him or her. Be with someone that protects you. Be with someone that wants not only the best for you in your shared relationship, but the best for you in your relationship with God, your family, your friends, and yourself. Believe me, it makes your life so much better. Marrying the right one makes your life, your hardships, and your struggles all worth it.
(Happy one-month anniversary, Wes! Thank you for making the fairytale dream of my life come true.)