Coming home from our honeymoon, we settled into our one-bedroom apartment and began meshing our routines, personalities, and lifestyles. To be honest, our first year of marriage was bliss. Come to think of it, so was our second! But even though it’s been wonderful, we learned (and continue to learn) a lot about each other, the good and the bad. Not only that, but also about ourselves as individuals.
For example, I thought I was a fairly open person, blunt and straightforward, but after an argumentative disagreement, I went into full shut-down mode and closed up! I can’t recall this happening before, but apparently confrontation wasn’t easy for me. Another case is I thought I had a more dominant character than Ruvim, which I worried about going into marriage. Turns out, he does! Which works well for the both of us.
Although we grew up in the same culture, we quickly learned that our family dynamics were different, which formed many of our tendencies. I was more surprised with myself than with Ruvim; and the same went for him. Certain traits came out of us we didn’t know existed. Strengths and weaknesses alike. It was interesting to watch each other grow, but even more so to grow together.
The most significant change for me was going from constant noise to consistent peace. For the first two or three months of marriage, I’d come home from work and, out of habit, cook up a storm, and scrub our already tidy house, in attempts to create commotion for my already busy brain. I had to get used to the quietness, finding rest, and being still. I didn’t realize how energetic and busy I kept myself throughout the day until Ruvim sat down on the couch to do nothing but relax. That baffled me!
My brain was in constant go-mode, so seeing him do that was foreign to me. It’s true when they say “opposites attract” because, silly as it sounds, Ruvim taught me how to relax on the couch! Ruvim learned the opposite. He saw the value of getting things done before relaxing. And also that keeping a schedule can be helpful! Not that he’s disorganized or lazy, but he’s just more laid back than I am. (For the record though, he is the most organized person I know.)
We get used to good things quick. I say this because he slowed me down, and I picked up his pace. It was important for us both to embrace changing for the better, because ultimately it would come either way. Even if our routines stay the same for years, the world will change, and so will we. Our tendencies and personalities will be constantly challenged – with each person we meet, every situation we face, and any circumstance we encounter.
It definitely helped that we came from the same culture, but we had to learn to change our character habits. Our family dynamics were different enough for us to realize this! Just like it’s essential to be flexible in situational circumstances (like our honeymoon fiasco), we need to be open to change in character.
When you plant a seed, you first open the ground, drop the seedling, and then water it consistently. The seed needs to open itself in order for it to receive change, to grow. When it’s receptive to its environmental change (getting watered), God grows it and it matures into the plant it’s meant to be! If it it’s not receptive, it will only get hurt and prevent itself from blooming. In the same way, when we are open and willing to change our characters and attitudes, God causes us to grow into the people He created us to be.
7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.1 Corinthians 3:7
I have to remind myself not to close up when certain things don’t go my way, and I’m grateful to have Ruvim who can help me in this area. We’ve learned to water and challenge each other to encourage change in our characters. And we realize how God causes us to grow because the fruit we produce is of His Spirit.
At the time of this post, it’s been almost three years since Ruvim and I got married, and if you were to spend time with either of us, you’d see us reflecting each other, tendencies and all. Just like we reflect the people in our lives, we reflect Him who lives inside of us. He is our constant companion, untiring comforter, and our closest friend!
My closing note for this post is to encourage you to be okay with change. It’s kind of the trademark of 2020, mainly because of the pandemic and politics. Change will happen outside and inside of us, whether you’re single, just married, or been married for 10+ years. We can either embrace or fight it. What will you choose?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
Stay tuned for next week’s post!