Tonight was the last night of the Elevate Freedom class I have been taking at my church. For the past 8 weeks, I have been coming face to face with the hurts of my past and learning how to walk in the freedom God has for me. As part of the class, we were required to write a forgiveness letter. I wrote a forgiveness letter to myself. My letter was one of the few chosen to be read to the class and the guests that came. This class has truly been a blessing for me. The Holy Spirit was able to reveal to me the anger and resentment I had towards myself for my past mistakes. Although this letter was painful to write, the peace and joy I have experienced since writing it was so worth it. I know that reading my letter tonight not only freed me, but touched other lives.
Today marks one year of marriage for me and my amazing husband. I still remember the days when I longed to be married and would be plagued with negative thoughts and wondering if God would ever bless me with a husband. Four years ago God brought Antoine into my life and after about a month of dating, I knew I was going to marry this man. Antoine and I dated for about two years before getting engaged. It was not an easy journey during those two years leading up to our engagement. I had a lot of brokenness inside me and I struggled greatly with insecurities. One thing I can say about Antoine is that throughout our entire relationship and even to this day, he is the most consistent man I have ever met. I always know what to expect with him. He also has the patience of Job. He showed me the love of Christ from day one and that was how I knew he was the man for me. About 5 years before I met Antoine, my spiritual dad prophesied over me and he said that God would send me a man that would love me as He loves me. And Antoine has done just that.
Antoine proposed to me in June 2017. During this time we faced many trials and tribulations. We faced some challenges as we prepared to bring together two families, but God was faithful throughout. And on May 12, 2018, surrounded by those we love most, we became husband and wife. I wish I could say it was happily ever after and that marriage has been a beautiful fairytale, but that would be a lie. The day after our wedding, Antoine and I were two people with two differing personalities that were getting ready to live under the same roof. We soon discovered that we clean the house differently, that he’s okay with leaving the toilet seat up and I’m not, that our closet realistically could not fit all of our belongings, and so much more. With that being said, I would like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned during our first year of marriage.
1. Pick your battles wisely.
During the first few months of marriage, Antoine and I argued a lot. I hate to admit this, but we even argued on our honeymoon. The Holy Spirit began to show me that I needed to stop voicing every concern or annoyance to Antoine. I needed to talk to God more about what was bothering me and pray over those areas that needed to change. Once I started doing that, God would begin to move in those situations and bring peace in our home. By holding my tongue, the Holy Spirit was able to move in our marriage and show us both those areas that we needed to change or improve in.
2. Accept your spouse for who they are even if they leave random paper towels around the house.
Another reason why Antoine and I argued was because I kept trying to change him. I believed that there was a certain way to do things and wanted him to do everything my way. Yes, I struggled with control issues. Once I relinquished my control to God, learned to accept my husband for who he is, and stopped taking everything so personal, the arguments stopped. Now, when I see a random paper towel around the house, I will throw it away or joke with Antoine about it. It no longer bothers me lol.
3. Remember that you and your spouse are a team.
From the start of our marriage, the enemy tried to stir up trouble. He had me convinced that I was doing this on my own. I was so focused on what I was feeling and what I believed my husband was doing, that I began to feel like I was on my own. I began to pray more diligently over my marriage and God began to reveal to me that I had to change my mindset. I had to know and believe that my husband and I are a team. Once I changed my thinking, I approached my marriage differently and I experienced much joy and peace in my marriage.
4. Enjoy each and every moment you have together.
During our dating phase, I soon learned that my husband was a jokester and loved to crack jokes. At times all the joking was hard for me to accept. I even got mad at him often for his nonstop joking. I learned in our marriage to cherish that part of him. We have such a playful and fun relationship, which honestly has strengthened our marriage. We are able to laugh even during the tough times. We also have learned to enjoy each moment we have together. That is so critical in marriage. The enemy is going to attack your marriage left and right. You can’t let those attacks steal the joy from your marriage. Continue to enjoy one another. Focus on the positives instead of magnifying the negatives. Life may not be perfect, but it is a blessing to find someone you love unconditionally that you can spend the rest of your life with.
5. Pray over your spouse.
Of each of the marital lessons, praying over your spouse is the most important. Talk to your spouse and find out what you can stand in agreement with them on. Maybe they have goals and dreams that they want to achieve. Maybe they have a difficult co-worker. Maybe the enemy is bombarding them with negative thoughts. Whatever the case may be, pray over your spouse. Pray over your spouse’s safety. I pray for traveling mercies for Antoine daily. Antoine was in a really bad accident not too long ago, and by the grace of God he walked away without a scratch. We make it a habit to pray together in the mornings before we leave for work. We share prayer requests and stand in agreement with one another on those things we are trusting God for.
These are just a few of the lessons I learned during our first year of marriage. I look forward to learning and growing more during this second year.
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I am so excited to announce that I am a @lifeway blogger! Part of being a blogger for LifeWay is that I get to read and review new books! This month I will be reading Disciple Her by Kandi Gallaty and will be listening to the audio book Not Forsaken by Louie Giglio. I will be posting my review of each book as soon as I’m done reading it. I can’t wait to share these books with you!