Identity in marriage
Written by : Crystal-Lee Young
After being married for ten years, I have come to learn that both the ideologies of identity and marriage, are as complex as the cosmos. Bringing the two elements into a galactic collision, my thoughts race back through the journey of how I eventually found my own identity in marriage. Some would say that I was rather ‘green’ when I tied the knot. However, at the golden age of 23, my prudent decision has paved the road for many ardent adventures.
When I was barely eighteen years old, I flew half-way across the globe to live with a foreign family. I learnt to speak French fluently in the Parisian capital and got the opportunity to visit neighbouring countries on a shoe-string budget. I became wildly independent yet still yearned for companionship, someone I could call my own – my home!
“Life takes you to unexpected places, love brings you home.”
When I eventually returned to South Africa, my plan was to further my studies. However, unbeknownst to me, I would be planning my own wedding within a few short years. Ironically, I met my husband at a wedding ceremony. He was this cool, collected guy and his inner confidence and charm, immediately won me over. It was not long after that, that we decided to make it official. We were going to get married. The date was set.
Once down the aisle, my voyage set sail. Blissful contentment was however very short-lived. Inner storms began to rage and my “happily ever after” was far from sight. Like fog disappearing before the morning sun, I watched in dismay as parts of myself broke off into pieces of a once complete puzzle.
As a believer, there was no doubt whatsoever in my heart about where my identity came from. That was not the problem, my culminating crisis was convergence. I needed to stream line my thoughts. Who was I, if my life chapter of being an explorer, traveler and vagabond of ventures was placed on hold? My struggle was to stop living on past achievements and to begin to excavate new ones, together with my husband.
Now, like any other couple, we still have ups and downs, the only difference is that I’ve come to know that my home is where my heart is.
Arriving at the realisation that my better half, and two amazing daughters, are my forever home (no matter in which crisis we find ourselves) was a fundamental milestone in my existence. It opened the door to the next life lesson I had to learn:
I had to bravely take my foot off the breaks!
Instead of placidly placing talents, gifts and dreams on hold out of fear of failure, the Lord clearly said to me:
‘Hold onto Me – I am your Rock.’
At that point, I made a conscious decision to move from idling to first gear.
We all become stagnate and complacent at some point in our lives. Mine played out in taking the backseat in our marriage. Somewhere along the line I just became adapt to the way things were, while watching as my husband excelled in his business and music endeavours. The more I did nothing, the more I struggled with my own identity in our marriage. A tinge of envy started growing at my core until, like an ink blotch, it spread, blackening a seemingly healthy marriage.
I had to act quickly. Something needed to be done! I was oddly aware that it was by my own doing that much of my enjoyment, and who I was, was placed on hold. My creativity longed to be set free.
After some serious introspection, my resolve was as follows:
- I can continue to be my husband’s (biggest supporter) and still pursue my own passions.
- Placing my talents, giftings and dreams on hold are not healthy for me.
- A creative outlet is like medicine for the soul .
- I will refuse to linger in a sphere or nothingness.
- Instead of placing my dreams on hold out of fear, I will hold onto Gods promises for my life!
One of my biggest challenges in life has always been the inability to effectively handle crisis management. Why, you may ask? Well, simply because I tend to nit-pick at every scenario until the entire ball of string has come undone. I procrastinate, sit, watch, wait and evaluate the situation from every possible angle. Of course, this means that most of the time little else gets done, over long periods of time. I am what some may call a strategist! Give me a pen, paper and stats, lets chat facts!
What does this have to do with identity in marriage?
It’s about learning to trust your partner and knowing that you can lean on them, to carry the baton when you are unable to make decisions on your own accord. Becoming one on every level. I have struggled, for many years, with the issue of letting go of control. This of course has been an accelerant in many heated disagreements. The problem with indecisiveness is that it prevents any action from being taken. What am I getting at?
After many combustive scenarios, I have learnt that there is only one thing left to do in this type of situation. And, that is to hand over my inabilities to the company of Christ management.
The number of times I have disregarded my position in our marriage and rated myself as inadequate, is as numerous as the stars. I know that I am not the only one doing this. The fact is that we as women, wives and mothers tend to underestimate the vital roles we play in our households.
The number one culprit for declaring us inadequate, and killing our dreams, is comparison. As soon as we compare ourselves to others, we allow fear of failure to manifest in our lives. We see this so clearly in the Bible as well. When Peter stepped out of the boat onto the raging sea, he only began to sink when he looked around and took his focus off of Jesus.
Once I learnt to transform crisis management into Christ management my circumstances, as well as how I perceived myself, began to change.
Along this journey, through all the hills and valleys, my ups and downs, my good days and bad ones, I have come to choose to acknowledge my significance. We are captivating, we are women!
The mystery of the feminine heart is powerful, tender, fierce and alluring. It just took me a while to accept and claim it.
I have found my identity in marriage, although contrary, my journey does not end here. Neither my story nor my inquisition in ‘identity in marriage’ has completely been resolved. I don’t think we as women will ever completely come to a stand-still and say: “this is exactly who I am”, for we are ever evolving.
I do however know for certain that, I am my husband’s, and he is mine. Our marriage is sacred and holy! Everything else is subject to change. If we do not change, we cannot grow. There are so many distractions that pull our attention into different directions, which may in turn stunt our growth. Therefore, let us fight for ourselves by keeping our focus on Jesus. Take whatever is in your hands (dreams, gifts and talents) water them with your time, love and attention and then, watch as they take life and begin to breathe into existence.
This is our moment to make a spectacular splash!
They tried to bury us.
They didn’t know we were seeds.