For the first leg of our Road Trip with the Girlfriends, we’ll hear from fellow traveler, Ruth Reynolds. Ruth is still close to the starting line of marriage and motherhood. She got married two years ago and she and her husband are now the proud, tired parents of darling 10-month old Lily. Here are Ruth’s reflections from her first week on the Hidden Heart journey:
I’ll never forget the first time I met Mary Suzanne, one of the Hidden Heart Ministry founders. I gushed on and on about my desire to get married and how I thought I had met The One! Somehow, Mary Suzanne squeezed a novel idea into the conversation: “The first thing you have to do once you get married is to forget about the husband of your dreams and learn to love the husband you married.”
Wait … what!?
I spent 29 years master-planning my future. As a single woman with a high-power career, I was mistakenly stuck in the mindset that life began after marriage; after children. And now I was presented with the idea that my marriage will not (and is not) play out how I always imagined it.
Why doesn’t my husband appreciate all my helpful advice? Why can’t he stop and try to see things from my perspective?
The first chapter of The Cry of the Hidden Heart Scripture Guide takes a deeper look at Mary Suzanne’s advice and takes me back to the Bible’s “in the beginning.” What does the Bible say about marriage?
“We need to change our mindset from me to He,” said Sharon Sherman, the mentor of The Cry of the Hidden Heart group I started attending this week. She shared, “The only way two imperfect people can experience joy and fulfillment in a lifelong union is to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Yet, even as I write this, I have to admit that I’m not fully ready to give up on my goals for my marriage. I want all that Jesus designed for our marriage, but can’t it be my way, too? My dilemma was echoed by the first person I met on this Hidden Heart road trip – the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-22. He asked Jesus a question with a similar motive as mine: What does it cost to enjoy God’s best?
Everlasting life and an abundant life in marriage are found in Jesus’ two simple words – “Follow me.”
Like the rich young man, I think I’ve got life figured out. Yet, the more I try to change my husband, the more distance I feel from his heart. It’s hard for me to admit, but I often care more about what I’m saying than what he has said.
As I worked through the first chapter, I began to see that my big plans for our marriage divide us more than they unite us. The Guide suggests that by understanding that God loved me despite my imperfections, I can pour out a Christ-like selfless love upon my husband.
Lord, I need your help! Will you open my eyes to the struggle going on in my heart and give me Your strength to let go of my way and follow You? Help me to love my husband the way you unconditionally love me. Amen.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
~ Ruth Reynolds
Everyone is invited to take part in our “virtual” journey through The Cry of the Hidden Heart here on the Hidden Heart blog. What effect has your pursuit of fulfillment and perfection had on your marriage relationship? Feel free to share your reflections on this question and blog post in the comment section below!