’til death unites us: fighting for marriage

People sometimes joke their spouse will be the death of them; mine really is, and I’m glad.

My husband Nick and I met and married in three months. I’m sure people assumed I was pregnant, I wasn’t. I just felt ready. I knew exactly the kind of man I wanted to marry (seriously, I had a list), and Nick exceeded my expectations. He sort of came at me like a freight train and, even though I was a little off guard, I was totally smitten.

We were ready

I cared very little about the details of our wedding. We even considered just going to the courthouse but the very idea sent my mother into a panic. In retrospect, I’m glad we had a wedding, it was awesome, and if I could parade around like a princess in my wedding dress every day I would… in fact I am wearing it right now. You know I’m kidding right? Back to the wedding… in 3 months we met, we got engaged, and got married (I think we went on a date too, but I honestly can’t remember if we were already engaged at the time). It was fast, but I was ready, and now looking back, I had been ready for years, and so had he.

Not that we were desperately seeking soul mates or anything, but I had decided long before meeting Nick that when I got married I would not stay married until death separated us, I would stay married because death united us.

Marriage isn’t about two separate lives coming together and hoping to beat the odds and somehow make it work, marriage is about two people dying and becoming one flesh.

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”. Gen 2:24

God intended marriage to include total unity. The price of unity is death.

We were wrecked.

Our first year of marriage was really hard. To say we argued a lot doesn’t really describe what was going on in our heart and in our home. I felt lonely, needy, clingy, and I let my mind dream of a non-existent man who could bear the weight of my emotional baggage. I was dying. Nick felt suffocated, tricked, trapped, and frustrated that I wasn’t more of what he needed and less of what he could do without. He was dying. On more than one occasion I stormed out of our house with an empty suitcase, loaded it up in the car, and drove around the block until I remembered I had no place else to go. (Yeah, living on an island that first year was definitely God’s plan.) I always hoped my theatrics would entice Nick to run after me, desperate to make things right, he never did. I hated him for it. I was dying. Nick closed himself off emotionally and retreated to an office full of books and void of the constant dripping that was his new bride. He longed for days of old, when he could surf every day, leave his clothes on the floor, and eat what he wanted, when he wanted it. He wished I wasn’t so needy and emotional, and he hated me for it. He was dying. Death is sometimes painful to experience and is always painful to watch.

But there were days we woke up dead. Those days were different.

We were different. On those days we were a team, but not just a team, more like an impenetrable force to be reckoned with. It was powerful, bigger than us, stronger somehow. We were better together, we were one, and we magnified the Lord as one.

O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3

Some will say we just needed time, but the truth is what we needed was Jesus. We needed Jesus to shed blood on our selfishness, to cover the multitude of our sins with His love, and to give us a new perspective on unity in marriage. We needed to learn that unity in this life was possible if we are willing to die for it.

We are willing.

Seven years and two kids later our marriage is perfect. We never fight, he always loves me, I always respect him, our children are insanely cute (at least that part is true- see pic). The problem isn’t even that our marriage isn’t perfect, the problem is that we are not perfect, so we die and let Christ rule in our heart and in our home. There are still days when our marriage is threatened by that man and woman we thought we’d killed…our former selves. So we kill them again, and again, and again, and each time we do, the bonds of our marriage are strengthened by the God in our heart. There is no unity without death, only a battle of the wills.

So, is it worth it? Heck yeah it’s worth it. He is worth it, I am worth it, we are worth it, but more importantly, God is worth it.

See God created marriage as a picture of His union with the church. The church united by His death. Sometimes it seems as though the gates of hell are set to destroy marriage and families, but by God’s grace, the gates of hell will not prevail.

It’s worth it…if you are willing to die.

To the married reader:

I hope you die. I hope you die every day, twice, maybe three times a day if that’s what it takes to strengthen the bonds of unity. I hope you lay down your life and fight for your spouse, because you are stronger together. Even in your weakness, as you submit to God’s will, He will be strong on your behalf.

To the unmarried reader:

Whether you are divorced or never married, I hope you die. I hope you die every day, and are united with Christ in heart and mind. And if you do marry, I hope you are prepared to wake up dead to be united to your spouse.

When marriage is the death of you, something far more powerful survives.

If you need prayer for your marriage, lack of marriage (single gals :0) ), or want to share a testimony of how God united you and your spouse through the death of your self, please leave a comment. I love to hear from you.

Praying for you this week, for your marriages, that they would be radical, restored, and resilient. And please, pray for mine too. This is how we change the world.



48 thoughts on “’til death unites us: fighting for marriage

  1. Wow Shaena! Powerful, simple and challenging… all at the same time. Only a heart for God could write something that real. To God be the glory!!! I printed it out for me… Even after 50 years of marriage, Your blog, by His grace, will strengthen my marriage. ( I know that cause I’m printing a copy for my husband tooooo!!! ) Ok, just a little humor there.
    Do you mind if I give a copy now and then to people then that I counsel? Thanks Shaena. And yes, I already pray for you. love ya, nancy galligan

    • Wow, awesome Nancy, PTL. ( and too funny about slipping one to the hubby… I’m sure just for accountability right?) Yes of course share it with whomever you like… Jesus for as many people as possible. Lv you.

  2. Pingback: ’til death unites… « bryanlopez.com | something to chew on.

  3. Shaena, thanks for being so open. Sometimes when I think about getting married or even having kids I think I’m too selfish. But I know Christ calls me to die to myself daily and follow after Him. I pray when the time comes I will die and have a godly marriage. Please keep me in your prayers. As always, I’m praying for you and Nick. So honored to serve with you both and to see you as an amazing example of a married couple dying and letting Christ guide and revive you! I love the Crespos!

  4. Wow, this is an amazing post. Thanks for the reminder of truth and our daily need to die to ourselves, our wills and our old self to better love our spouses!

  5. My favorite post yet, my friend. So real, so beautiful, so encouraging. I once heard someone ask a Christian radio counselor if they should stayed married simply for their kids. She felt that was exactly what she was doing. The radio host (Randy Carlson) asked her if she’d do anything for her kids, die for them, fight for them, etc. Her response, as any mother’s would be, was a resounding, “Yes, of course!” He then asked, “Will you stay married to their daddy for them?” Boom. Changed my life. What was encouraging is he went on to say, their marriage could get better. Obviously, she need some boundaries to be put in place (due to some major marital issues), but he told her to be the BEST wife she could be to her husband, cook his favorite meal, pray for him, their marriage, etc. Then wait & watch. He promised she’d see results. I did all of it & it was life changing & marriage changing. I began to realize my focus needed to be on myself. You are right, it is SO worth it! Glory to God!

  6. I love this!! Estevan and I got engaged after only one month of dating. We were married less than a year later. Little did I know the next five years would be the hardest years of my life! I felt like he wasn’t the best husband so why should I be the best wife I could be? We hardly ever would have fights and I think thats because I was always so quiet but inside I was at war with him. I’m so thankful God showed us that we were not working together well because He wasn’t the center of our marriage. I find that I have to die to myself daily to have a joyful marriage

    • Amen! I love how you put that, “We hardly ever would have fights and I think thats because I was always so quiet but inside I was at war with him.” When we die to ourselves, it isn’t just our actions that die but our selfish thoughts and desires too. Thanks for adding that Joann.

  7. Shaena, you are an amazing writer. God used you so much in this and itsa pattern He is working on me right now to die to self to see Him for who He is (at least as much as I can comprehend) and for who I am. I definitly will continue to pray for you and Nick. Honestly I believe you are the first couple married I have ever seen that doesn’t frighten me out of marriage. I ask for prayers in that because I’m not ready for marriage that I continue to have my heart protected and my heart not disracted and even though it’s not in marriage I die to myself esteeming others higher than myself in actions and thoughts. I’ve been struggling with having my focus on me lately and that’s destroying me in ways God doesn’t want. Shaena thank you for being a woman of God and striving to be blameless I know we all come short of the glory of God but your honesty and your heart encourage me and I am joyful God put you in my life. I look up to you:)

  8. What a blessings! So true, we should make a class before we get marry about this topic. It will surely open our spiritual eyes about the real beauty of marriage life. Thanks Shaena. Blessings from Puerto RIco!

  9. Wonderful post, Shaena. I agree completely. Exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty and candidness.

    My husband and I pledged to spend our lives together the first week we met exactly one year ago and we were married 9 months later, so I can relate to your story.

    We don’t fight, but I am insecure and I have internal flare-ups that I have to talk myself out of from time to time.

    Actually, I am in the midst of an internal struggle against insecurity right now and reading your post went a long way in helping me get out of this stupor.

    God bless you for your post. It’s amazing how God works.

    Keep up the amazing work, Shaena.

  10. Wow. I found this post on Allyspots’s Confessions page. This was incredibly encouraging to read. I find myself nowhere near married at this time, and I still got a lot out of it. The kind of view of unity is lost in our culture. All college tells me is that spouses are good for tax write-offs and a good time. Kudos to you, your journey, and your willingness to share. It really gave me some great insight.

  11. College can really only train you how to be successful in the world, when they dabble in other things, it a disaster. The problem is that marriage is spiritual, that wisdom can only come from God’s word. You are in the perfect place to prepare your heart for marriage by strengthening your unity with Christ. Praying for you.

  12. I really really do not understand what you mean about fighting and anger and dying inside being a good thing. I am married and for the past while it has just been fight after fight after fight and I am dying every day and so is he, and it damn better be bringing us something good because I am at my limits. I don’t know what you mean by dying. I really don’t. If killing myself would solve all our problems then that would be great but that just sounds ridiculous. Suicide is wrong…

    I just… your post doesn’t make any sense.

    • I’m so thankful for push notifications right now, otherwise I might have missed your comment. I’m so sorry that you are hurting and I am praying for you. God is real. And there is a bigger picture for your life and for your marriage. I am not talking about killing yourself in a literal since, I am talking about dying to self ( putting someone else’s needs, desires above your own). God sent Jesus into this world to die so that anyone who believed in Him would not suffer the punishment of separation from God that we deserve because of our sin.. Because of Jesus, we have the promise of heaven (the big picture). Marriage is the little picture, we die to ourself so that our marriage can live. You can have peace in your marriage, and it’s worth it, but it’s more important that you have peace with God.
      I’d love to help you get the support you need. My email is shelaughsblog@gmail.com… don’t quit.

  13. By the way, I read this to my dad and he said you sound like a 70 year old wise woman, where did you get so much wisdom? He knows exactly where you got it from. And he asked me to tell you this blessed him very much. I’m not married yet, but this I will carry in my heart till I’m reunited with my Maker. And even then I’ll keep this with me. Thank you!

    • lol. At least he didn’t say I looked like I was 70 yrs old. Seriously though, what a complement! Thanks Ashley, and you are absolutely right any wisdom on this earth is given to us from God. Man He gives good gifts ;0). Shaena

  14. Loved your thoughts. God does amazing things when we stop being selfish and start thinking of others as more important than us.
    God bless you and yours.

      • La Wii ha un’ottimo sistema di ilizoinaulmne, ma sembra scarsa nella gestione del bump mapping sulle texture. Effettivamente raramente si vede questo effetto nei giochi, come del resto cosi’ accadeva sul gamecube.A me sinceramente non dispiace che sia su binari, e l’ondata di giochi di questo tipo era prevedibile che sarebbe scoppiata, anche perch il sistema di puntamento e fatto a pennello per questi giochi.Sicuramente pi avanti uscir anche la versione in terza persona del titolo capcom, ma si vede che non’ la loro priorit .

  15. Pingback: The Marriage Race | shelaughsblog

  16. Loved this post. You know my struggles within my marriage and it was you through God that kept me “running.” I continue to read and be inspired by your blogs. Thank you more than words can express…… Kristi

  17. I too got married within months of meeting the father of my children (not), the love of my life (not), my soul mate (not) but the man that Jesus sent me to obey (?) Really? Honor? What? My daughter (his daughter) moved out of the house to live with her mom. Our first Valentines he bought me a beautiful heart shaped necklace. (I’ve never took it off). My birthday he went out and bought himself a new truck while I waited home for him not knowing where he was, thinking he was making it REAL special. The man couldn’t surprise a bee. Today – am seating in the front seat of the car with OUR kids sleeping in the back while he unselfishly drives 1500 miles so I (hear that? I) can go and have Thanksgiving with my brother who – haven’t seen in 15 years. Every time we stop for gas he gets me a “prize”. But on his leather jacket because I’m hot. Sings me to sleep, and every time he looks at me he tells me he loves me. (Every time). See, when u let God have control. And give him all the praise it just works. He never complains that he will never be my number 1. Luv ya Jesus oh yeah I love u too husband (that’s what I call him). The most spirit filled, God fearing, funny, beautiful gift I’ve ever received (yes even above my kids who r now his kids). Thank u for reminding me of HIS love. Just me Pancha who u don’t know :y

  18. Pingback: Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell. | shelaughsblog

  19. Pingback: Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell. | shelaughsblog

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