This year I’ve been married five years. WHOA. It seems really long but at the same time, it seems to have passed by so quickly. Mine was different to most because Matt and I started out our married life by having a baby one month into being married. (Long story for another day but God used and still is using our journey through that immensely for His glory!) If that’s not being thrown into the deep end, I don’t know what is. 

The essence of marriage is that it’s not about you. You’ve taken vows with someone whose happiness you put before your own, whose well-being you attend to before anything else. Making them happy should essentially make you happy. But it doesn’t always work that way.

Marriage of course, is going to have highs where you feel like all is right with the world, there are butterflies in your tummy, there’s walking like you’re floating on the clouds, where you see everything in the world through your rose-coloured, love-tinted glasses but marriage starts to get difficult when you’re in the valleys. And believe me, they’re going to come if they haven’t yet.

There are so many pieces of advice that people give you when you start and while you’re walking through, your marriage journey. Funny though, the best piece of advice I’ve ever got was yesterday.

Here it is and it seems so simple: when you believe you’re struggling in your marriage and you start to feel discontent about how your relationship is panning out, you’ve taken the focus off your husband/wife and started focusing on your own wants and needs, making them more important that your spouse’s. Other-centeredness versus self-centeredness ~ that’s the basic idea.

How true is that? I can just think about that in the context of my marriage. If I start to feel like I’m unhappy or I start grumbling, it’s usually because I’m not getting what I want, not fulfilling one of my needs instead of caring about what’s best for Matt or what Matt wants. When I heard this yesterday, I looked back at my marriage and when it’s been tough, I’ve always tried to fight to make myself happy or make my needs more important than Matt’s.

Jesus is the ultimate example of other-centeredness. He put others before Himself in all things. The cross is a perfect picture of what it looks like to sacrifice self. That’s what marriage is about. Sacrificing selfish desire DAILY, and putting the focus on your spouse.

I was totally convicted of this yesterday so I’m talking to myself here, more than anyone. We’re all a work in progress and of course, marriage is a covenant between two flawed human beings so there’s bound to be times of hardship and misunderstandings but I believe this could help me going forward:

When marriage gets tough, I’ve probably shifted from other-centeredness to self-centeredness. I need to turn the spotlight off myself and onto my spouse. Prioritizing my spouse again, and not myself, might just start to fix things.

“Marriage is meant to be more about your surrender than about your satisfaction.”

[To follow Candice’s amazing blog, Moments with a Mom, click here]

[To read a Marriage through the Years story from Year 6, meet Karen and Alex Powell over here]