Marriage: Barely Skimming the Surface2
My name is Murry Adams, and I grew up in Greenwood as a past member of the Westminster community, where I also became a believer. I am 24 and currently in my second year of medical school at Virginia Tech (VCOM). This summer, I got married to Louise Lamb who was one of my good friends from college. We started dating during our first year out of college when we both lived in Charlottesville, VA. Louise was doing the RUF internship at UVA, and I was doing the Trinity Fellows Program.
The first 2 months of marriage have been a huge transition for me. And a good one, of course! However, before I begin, I am compelled to inform you of some things about my and Louise’s relationship. We met freshman year of college and were fast friends. This is a friendship that weathered all four years of college and remains one of our special gifts to this day. This root of friendship is wonderful because the second thing I would tell you about us is that we are complete opposites. On the Myer’s Briggs, she ranks high on Feeler while I rank high as Thinker. We process and communicate in very different ways. This has been one of the most beautiful things about our relationship as well as one of the hardest.
Louise’s strength is her ability to feel easily and freely. She has many characteristics that I long for. I want and need to become more of a feeler. I need to learn from the ways she can sit with a friend and grieve with them, laugh with them, empathize with them, and much more. I need to be able to experience the Lord’s beauty and goodness in a way that induces tears of joy. I need to learn to look at my sin in a way that evokes anger and sadness. These things come so naturally to Louise, and she beautifully displays the love she has for the gospel and feels its truth. My strength, on the other hand, is to sit and be both steadfast and disciplined in my relationship with Jesus. I have the ability to sit and think deeply on the ways Jesus’ love for me plays out in the mundane. I know the Lord is faithful to his promises, and that He will always provide for me. I am able to meditate purely and move forward logically. Louise has also lamented her desire to think purely and not just emotionally. At times, she leans on my strength to teach her to think rationally and not impulsively or merely through "what she feels in the moment".
These very differences are the reasons we married each other. I have certainly seen ways the Lord has used Louise to teach me more about Himself and more about loving His people. I have learned more of Jesus’ love for his children, and she has learned more of Jesus’ steadfastness and constancy towards us. Along with all of these differences come things that are both difficult and trying for us. Communication, being one of them, is on the top of the list. There are conversations we have had that, for the average couple, would take about ten minutes. However, for us, we look up and it has been a two hour endeavor to understand one another and “get on the same page". We will sit and go back and forth for what feels like an eternity at times. Pushing through conversations can be difficult because the evil one wants us to think our efforts are in vain and no progress will be made. We have even argued over things that, in the end, were found to be rather funny. We were on the same page before the argument began and still had no idea. Yet sometimes we find that we were, indeed, on very different pages. At times, these conversations end with feelings/thoughts of, “the person I love is a stranger.” She is tempted to doubt while I am tempted to disconnect.
But it doesn’t end there. One of the greatest things we have learned about marriage is this: things that are hard are not always wrong. It is ok for communication to be hard. It is okay to be frustrated with the other, and, in a lot of ways, couples entering lifelong, marriage commitments should expect as much. Simply in the fact that she is a girl, and I am a boy, one should expect there to be disagreements and misunderstandings. It is because of Jesus that we have the freedom to have an imperfect marriage; to fight and to disagree. It is because of Christ that beauty is found in two opposite beings coming together to be one. Because isn’t that what makes up the image of Christ? The different parts of the church coming together to make a whole? Jesus came to Earth to die and put to death our sins so we are no longer enslaved to them.
My hope as you read through this is that you would see marriage in the perspective of reality. In recent history, the church has seemed to over-glorify marriage and make it an ultimate life status. It has created an unrealistic expectation of what marriage is and what it should be. This means that, for those who are married Christians, there is freedom to disagree and walk through messiness together under the confidence that Jesus is present with you. And for those who are single, marriage is not the ultimate end. It truly is a gift to give more of your time to the Lord and the church. Louise and I have relied on friends, both single and married, to help us to communicate to each other in these spaces that we have misunderstandings. Marriage is life continued. It is difficultly beautiful. It is resting and trusting in the promises of Christ, while asking for mercy that He would continue to reveal Himself to us as He already has.