Dying to Self in Marriage

I was researching Jonathan and Sarah Edwards and wanted to share a sweet paragraph I found about their relationship:

“The many people who visited the home were impressed by the peace which flourished in the home. There was none of the quarreling or coldness so common in other homes. Husband and wife supported and admired each other. They prayed daily together. Evangelist George Whitefield, after spending a few days in the calm, happy Edwards home, was so impressed that he determined to get married himself. ‘A sweeter couple I have not yet seen,’ he enthused.

Jonathan and Sarah Edwards had eleven children, ten of whom lived to adulthood. Can you imagine what dedication would be necessary to cultivate your marriage in those days, especially from Sarah’s perspective?

I think most of us feel we have our hands full raising our children, homeschooling, housekeeping, cooking, yardwork, church responsibilities. And we have appliances, and many ways to “unplug” from the stress (Starbucks, anyone?). With all Sarah had to do, she didn’t neglect her man.

Before having children, I observed from behind the hazy curtain of newlywed bliss that the problem with marrige was that most women centered their all in all around their children. I determined that *I* wouldn’t make the same mistake. That my husband would always remain the priority.

I did pretty good till I became pregnant with our third child. Dh, wonderful guy that he is, urged me to stop getting up early with him in the mornings. Soon, I’d convinced myself that fixing his lunch fresh each morning wasn’t that necessary. After all, I was exhausted and having a rough pregnancy. I was entitled to some time off.

That feeling to entitlement is what gets most of us in trouble. That I have the right to be lazy, or the right to be cherished. I love how Nancy Leigh DeMoss said it best in her book, Lies Women Believe,

“Today it is assumed that,

  • you have a right to be happy
  • you have a right to be understood
  • you have a right to be loved
  • you have a right to a certain standard of living, to an equitable wage, and to decent benefits
  • you have a right to a good marriage
  • you have a right to companionship and romance
  • you have a right to be treated with respect in the workplace
  • you have a right to be valued by your husband and appreciated by your children
  • you have a right to a good night’s sleep
  • you have a right to have your husband pitch in with the household chores

And most important, if any of your rights are violated, you have the right to protest. You have a right to be angry. You have a right to be depressed. You have a right to take action. You have a right to insist on your rights!”

Last week I began getting up early again with dh, filled his lunchbox with good stuff and kissed him out the door. He appreciates it so much. And once I’m up, I’m grateful for that quiet beginning to the day.

Jonathan Edwards died of smallpox with this to say of his wife,

” …give my kindest leave to my dear wife and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long existed between us has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual and therefore will continue forever; and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial and submit cheerfully to the will of God.”

What a marriage. What a woman. And their legacy of faith lived on for many generations in the lives of their great-great grandchildren.

Something to strive for.