What We've Learned in 2 Years of Marriage - couldn't have done it without you -

IMG_4732 I remember the moment I realized I was married. It went a little something like this:

Loren & I were bickering like cats and dogs and that was abnormal. We had just come off a long two weeks of go-go-go and something little had set us off. One of those moments where one of us was very right, we both knew it, but both wanted to be right. The pride was thick, the frustration fuming, and we were blazing tired. It's too easy to be selfish and irritable when these things are mixed in a pot of together-ness.

I remember throwing my towel in annoyed, "whatever, if that's how it's going to be, fine." And stomped off to the bedroom like a 12 year old angry at my mother. I couldn't leave home like I once watched; I couldn't punch a hole in the wall like my younger days; I couldn't scream and bang my fist into the pillow like an angry 5 year old. I was quite dramatic in my younger days, I am now never dramatic or expressive. I was flustered that we weren't talking to one another like usual, and instead just being hard hearted jerks.

I remember sitting on our bed, knowing I needed to pray and ask Jesus to soften both of our hearts; but I didn't want to - that's when I know my heart is real hard and real self-centered. The wrestling in my mind began and it hit me: "no matter how frustrating he can be, how hurtful, how childish, I am married to him. No matter how ridiculous and bratty and prideful I can be...he married me. There is no walking out and leaving for anytime whatsoever. There is no end; this is just the beginning and this isn't even a big deal. I don't want to dig deep wells of hurt within him. Danget Jesus, would you just soften our hearts?" And I meant it; the wave of softened rawness flushed over me. The raw vulnerability that is scary, because if his heart isn't yet softened, I could be wounded deeper than before.

But it was worth the softening. It's always worth it.

Within 10 minutes of the start of our pathetic rage, we were both apologizing for specific things and asking forgiveness. We prayed together and went on a long boarding date walk to Red Box. All is well and we obviously haven't bickered one time since.

But really, we are blessed to say those times of irritable angry pride where we are big fat jerks to each other are very few. We are happy to say, "our first year and our second didn't suck, but were in fact the two most adventurous and beautiful years of our lives." And we couldn't have done it without the other - we need two willing parties, two people chasing the same Thing (Jesus), two always cooperative human beings. We could not have done this without the other - we could not have fought and bickered without the other OR enjoyed and celebrated life together without the other.

If there is one thing I'm learning time and time again, it's this:

When all else fails, humble myself.

Or better yet:

Before all else fails, humble myself.

I am learning that humility is at the core of a strong and healthy marriage. Humility says, "Your heart is way more important than my need to be right or proven." Humility says, "I will not build walls around my heart to keep you from growing closer to me. I will not throw swords and daggers at you. I will not protect myself at the expense of you or our closeness. I will work to remain soft hearted, open hearted, and welcoming to you. I will think of you before myself. I will serve you and love you and share myself with you at the risk of being hurt." Humility is difficult and scary. Humility is a risk.

Humility will build and strengthen your marriage.

I have learned these two quick years that humility along with [spiritual] friendship are the two most knitting things for our hearts.

The Reveal: Wedding Day It is in the fore front of my mind that we are uniquely placed in each others life to spur one another on in greatness. We are here to uniquely build each other up, helping to mold the other more into the image of Christ. What that means in every day life is: we pray together in the morning, submitting our hearts to Jesus and asking Him to be in charge; we bring up different ways we can serve the community and this church as a couple; we are completely un-incredible and full of failures all day long [WE ARE HOT MESSES] and we have the number one opportunity to extend unlimited grace to one another {just as Christ does, as our example}; we work to yield toward each other, giving and taking, always finding ways to serve and humbly accepting the others acts of service; we smile at each other a lot -- Loren is so much better than me at this! He is always smiling at me, reminding me to serve him with something as simple as my smile.

You guys. We are so un-awesome. We are such a mess. But we both try and remember that the goal is not to have some one here to make ME happy, to be perfect for ME, so I can live MY life. The goal is to sharpen each other and join Jesus in preparing one another for seeing Him someday. The goal is to serve in humility, to bless others with our marriage, to model Jesus.

The goal is not our happiness.

But I tell you what: happiness and deep joy is the direct result of all of Those Things. Joy is evident and it is very, very real. Spiritual friendship brings more than a beautiful joy, but ushers in a deep richness to our marriage.

I am forever grateful for His spirit that is within me and Loren both, giving us the power and strength to love through the ugly hot mess of one another. To humble ourselves when pride seems easiest. To soften those hard hearts.


Friends who are married: Remind each other how special it is to be married. Kiss each other goodbye and hello. Pray together. Pray together. Pray together. Dream together. Serve each other. Remember that you're not there to be made happy, but to grow and flourish into your fullness. And you cannot do that without your spouse. And before all else fails, humble yourself.

With so much love and 17 tons of joy, Team Brenner