Marriage is NOT a Mask
In normal Ashley fashion, I am going to deviate from my planned post schedule to talk about something that has really been on my heart lately. In my last post, I talked a little about how my joy does not come from my husband, circumstances and a whole list of things we sometimes get wrapped up in. For those who know me or see me on social media, the thought of my joy not coming from my husband may have been unusual to hear. I say that because I am very transparent (and maybe a little annoying) about the fact that I love my husband, Jordan. Not just love, but admire and full blown swoon over. I take so much pride in the fact that my husband is genuinely the best person I have ever met that I started to use that as a personality trait for myself. I started to use his greatness, for lack of a better word, as an excuse for my inadequacies. For example, in my mind, it did not matter if I was dealing with month long episodes of depression or anxiety that kept me in bed all day, I have a husband that lights up a room enough for the both of us. I would hide the fact that I was so insecure and unhappy with my appearance while dealing with PCOS and weight gain by broadcasting the fact that I have an attractive husband. I started sharing less of myself and more of my husband because I felt like all I had to offer was the fact that I am married to someone that everyone loves and that somehow that would make everyone love me too. It is normal to have a spouse that shines where you lack and makes you a better person. In my opinion, it is healthy to have a spouse that pushes you to be better because you strive to match the best parts of them. The place that I was in, however, became unhealthy.
For starters, I had bad intentions for our marriage. Let me explain. I went into our marriage fully prepared for our union to solve at least three major voids I felt in my life. I know it sounds ridiculous now, but I really thought that after our wedding day, I would never have to worry about those issues again because I was marrying my soulmate. I know someone out there really needs to hear this and I trust that this post will find you. Hear me loud and clear when I say: marriage will not fix the problems within yourself that you feel like only a spouse will fix. It is not going to happen. Sure, marrying the right person will bring you happiness and in a lot of ways it will enhance your life. The right spouse will most certainly make your life better. My husband is amazing. He makes me laugh everyday, listens to me and makes me feel valued. All the good stuff a husband should do, Jordan does to the thousandth degree. We have been dating since we were fourteen and I can say that no earthly person knows me better than he does. I am not saying this to discredit my husband, your spouse and certainly not marriage. I am saying this because society somehow convinced us that getting married is a solution to some or all of our problems and it is not. In fact, if you go into your marriage expecting it to solve your problems, you are doing your partner a disservice and putting added pressure on them. And if you are anything like me, the problems you are dealing with may even get worse because now you are bitter at your partner for not being able to wipe away your problems by marrying you. Now you are looking at your partner as if you picked the wrong person because they cannot heal the insecurities they were never meant to heal in the first place. It is not your partner’s responsibility to heal your childhood trauma or your mental health; they can and they should help with the process, but listen, it is your responsibility to deal with your problems.
I will be a little vulnerable to help this make sense because I really believe this will help a lot of single people focus on yourselves and a lot of married people take some of the pressure off your spouse by looking inward. Going into my marriage I carried a lot of feelings of abandonment. To avoid sharing too much of other people’s business, I will keep things a little vague and try to stick simply to my own experiences and feelings. Growing up, my parents were not together, but I had a pretty good home life. I had two sets of parents because my mom and dad both married other people. This had challenges, but I was happy. Life, on all fronts, started to really change once I got into high school for many reasons. I started to feel like I did not belong on one side and things were rocky on the other. By the end of high school, my entire family dynamic had switched. There’s a lot of details and it seemed like it was one bad thing after another, but just believe me when I say life got really hard. Everything I knew was different and I was extremely confused. I have always been one to put on a brave face and try to make everyone else feel at peace, but on the inside I was hurt to the core. As a teenage girl, this was life changing. I was forced to take off the rose colored glasses and really face the world. I felt really isolated from every single family member and suddenly I was all grown up. By the time I was 19-20, I was the loneliest I had ever felt. In my mind, there was no getting better. I was going to feel alone and abandoned forever. Now, from where I am today, I understand that part of that was me being dramatic, but for the most part, I was really traumatized. Over the course of the next year or so, I started to put the pieces of my shattered family life back together and things started to genuinely feel happy again. When Jordan and I got engaged, I was ecstatic. Beyond all the normal wedding excitement, I was really just excited to start what would become my own little family. I remember praying to God, “thank you Lord for giving me what I have been waiting for”, as if us getting married was the answer to all the prayers I prayed about how I was feeling. In my mind, marriage was going to change my life. And it did; marriage changed my life in a lot of ways. And being honest, in some ways, it did help all of those feelings I had about family. Some days, I would be so happy to be married that I would feel whole again. And then I would have those days where I realized I was still empty because, just like I mentioned earlier about using my husband’s greatness as a mask for my insecurity, I started using my marriage as a mask for my brokenness. Some days the sadness would be provoked by a situation with Jordan (because we are human) and some days it would come out of nowhere, but, regardless, it was coming from an unhealed place. I could not just have an argument with him, it was an argument followed by days of anxiety. I could not have normal feelings of wanting to buy a house, it was needing a sense of security and feeling at home. All of these scenarios that are completely normal for married people were exaggerated and saddened because I never actually dealt with my own problems.
I say all of that to say, marriage is beautiful and it is true bliss when done right, but marriage is not a bandaid for brokenness. We cannot use marriage as an escape route from all the things we do not want to deal with. I love that marriage is a goal for a lot of people because marriage is important in life. I just really want to speak to the idea that marriage and our spouse is the best thing about us. We are the best thing about ourselves when we allow healing to take place. If you have an insecurity, an obstacle, a void or anything else that you feel will be easier or removed by getting married, please understand that you have to heal those areas. You have to make the decision to seek God and get real deliverance from those things. It is unfair and unrealistic to your partner to expect them to heal you. The scripture I want to leave you with is Matthew 11:28-30, which says, “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”. This is key to the healing that you are looking to receive and the wholeness you are longing for. The scripture gives us the key to success when it talks about joining your life with Jesus’ and learning His ways; this is the real solution for the issues and burdens you have put off for so many years. This is how we begin healing. You do not have to know all the right prayers and there is no right way to take the first step, just take it. Join your life with Jesus, learn what the scripture says about you and your life. God has prepared a place of healing and rest for you. Earlier in this chapter of Matthew, Jesus says that God hides revelation from the proud, but reveals it to the humble. I think that being broken and shattered can sometimes be the most humble place to be, so seek God for the revelation and receive your healing. You are worthy of it. And there is an oasis waiting for you.
Love and Joy,