The Harris Marriage, God's Way
Ever since I was, I have always wanted what I have today -- to be married and to have my own family. I wanted to give my children something I was not able to have growing up, parents living under one roof who loved them and God wholeheartedly. Beyond a few, I really did not have a direct example of the entity of marriage. Yes, I had some married family members and there were married couples that I knew but I was still never exposed to marriage. It was something I saw superficially. I usually saw all of the smiles and happy times.
So when marrying Jay, I went into it with all of my innocent yet naïve expectations of what marriage should be. I thought that I should seek to do all of the things that would make Jay happy and that he would reciprocate that and that we would do that for the rest of our lives all while having children and changing the world. Looking back, I just want to hug the Chiquta from these days. Haha.
Do I fault myself for thinking this? Absolutely not. God knew what He was doing and allowing when Jay and I married. He knew that this would be the commencement of our development together that would not be attained for us by any other means.
Throughout the years of my marriage, I unintentionally (and maybe intentionally in some cases) began to place this desire of wanting and having a family, changing the trajectory of the generational curses that I had inherited and my constant and continual marathons from fear as idols in my life. While I felt that God desired to be glorified through my marriage, I acted as if this was all that was needed. I believed that by me just being a good wife and mother that God would be glorified. I felt that it was my responsibility as a wife to solely focus on my marriage as being the cornerstone of my being at this time. So as one may guess, I placed my husband and children (you can also add career along with other things to this mix) before Him.
So imagine the shock, fear, frustration and pain I experienced when I felt that all of what I was releasing was not being returned to me (THE SHOCK HAHAHAHA). The anguish I felt when I realized that all of the seeds being planted were not producing the crop I anticipated.
I would find myself so upset and nonchalant with Jay because he wasn't (in my mind) able to be the husband I wanted him to be. I was ignorant to the fact that I set a mental goal requesting and requiring him to be something that he could NEVER attain. He's human. He's flawed. I, Chiquta Harris had to come to the hard realization that I placed Jay and everyone else as a god in my life.
And please understand, this is not a ploy to judge or criticize Jay. No, I am not upset at him or making a post out of frustration. This walk is about none other than the person I must face when I look in the mirror -- me. Chiquta Harris. I was unknowingly asking for Jay to be God in my life. Asking him to make me happy. Requiring him to make me whole. All of this is something he can never accomplish. With this mindset, he's always going to fail. He's always going to miss the mark. I at the time was just unaware of this.
I had to change my view from looking for and pointing out all of Jay's imperfections and focus on myself internally. Who am I to do this to someone? Who am I to ask someone other than Christ to "fix" or "make me whole?"
I am learning that the purpose of my marriage is not to solely seek after pleasing my husband. I cannot use our happiness as a measurement of how pleased God is with us. Why? Because as imperfect humans, our feelings are fickle and are not to always be trusted. I have found that I somehow got it backwards. In fact, happiness is not something that we should seek after. Pure and genuine happiness is a byproduct of our completeness and wholeness in Christ. The purpose of my marriage is for Jay and I to seek to please God together as a couple. Our focus should be primarily on how we can further propel God's definition of marriage in a world where the definition isn't always as clearly defined. This is done by unequivocally denying ourselves beyond ourselves and to Christ. Seeking Him for His definition of marriage for us; not by any other means. Trusting Him to fill in all of the voids and to make all of the other paths clear. Do this together out of God's love and grace for another. That's it. That's our calling together.
Speaking for myself, this was not how I initially entered into my marriage. I entered my marriage out of fear. The fear of continuing to live in sin. The fear of failing. The fear of not getting those dreams. This became evident when Jay and I would experience so many hardships and would be unable to even talk through them. We were so removed from our purpose of marriage because of the self-inflicted strains that we had placed on ourselves. We had placed burdens on ourselves that we were never intended to carry.
We had to refocus.
We had to readjust.
We are refocusing.
We are readjusting.
I am studying to understand the intentions of placing and keeping God first in my life. In Proverbs 3:6 (TLB) we are instructed, "In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown [our] your efforts with success."
I am on a mission now to reestablish my mindset to truly be one that seeks after the heart of Jesus; to understand the purpose of marriage for us. I acknowledge that as a couple and as individuals that we have so much more to face and overcome and just like before, we will overcome. However, this time, we will overcome and become victorious the way that God has fully intended.
For the sake and livelihood of my marriage, Jay and I must stand hand and hand and seek to please and serve God together. We must strive to align our thoughts and actions to utilize our marriage as a tool of worship for Christ.
I am also not stating that I do not have responsibility as a wife and mother but I must also understand that although God created those roles for me, they should at no point position themselves as a replacement for who Jesus was sent to be for me. My primary purpose of being created was and is to worship and bring honor to Christ first. The spirit of Christ flows through me and allows me to properly fulfill all other roles in my life. I however, must be in correct positioning with Christ initially to do this.
Sharing this intimate aspect of my marriage is not easy and may open up the door to unsolicited criticism and misunderstandings of who Jay and I were or are. But I am learning that everything that we experienced as a couple was not only a requirement for our growth and maturing but is also needed in order for this testimony to help others who may be experiencing what we have. That is my earnest desire -- for God to use my life and all of the elements therein it to be an example of His keeping and most importantly His loving power.
Pictures By Isaiah Hunter