Alicia and I married at the young ages of 21 and 19. We were 3 months pregnant when we said I do and began our new life together as one. We worked opposite shifts, and I often had to work overtime while dealing with long commutes and school work while doing my apprenticeship. Both of us came from families where our parents had struggled in their marriages that ended in divorce. Our parents are good people and we love them dearly, but they did not teach us how to have a marriage based upon biblical design. Needless to say, we struggled to meet each other’s needs in our new marriage.
We often didn’t understand the different ways we needed to show love to one another, and I placed more importance on work and providing a comfortable life for my family. I would always be busy working on the house or at work, not giving Alicia the quality time she needed, which would leave her not in the mood to give me the respect that a husband needs. Our relationship struggled.
When our son was ready to go into Preschool, we enrolled him into Prepare The Way at Allen Creek Community Church. We began to attend AC3 and get to know the members of this church. Over time we got to see how Christ was working in their lives. It took a few years until Alicia and I came to a point where we acknowledged that we were in desperate need to have Christ at the center of our marriage. It was going to be a big change for us and how our relationship was structured. We each gave our lives to Christ.
I was learning to look at my wife and love her in the same way that Christ loved the church. Jesus was faithful to the Church to the point of his crucifixion. I had to learn to die for my wife, like Christ. I had to die to my own desires and put her needs first, loving her unconditionally. In Ephesians 5:24-2 states that “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives beto their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church.” With my commitment and application of these words, it has enabled Alicia to see the Christ figure in me as the head of the household and show me the respect that a man needs.
Both Alicia and I had to learn to let go of our short comings, unmet unrealistic expectations, and the mistakes we had made during the early years of our marriage. Alicia had held onto many resentments and often voiced them to me. They would fester inside and be brought up during disagreements, compounding other issues. It took time to let go, but with prayer and God’s work on our hearts we were able to “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, calmer and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:21-32
As forgiveness truly set in, a new level of communication and intimacy has occurred. The more I began using prayer and trusting in the Lord to handle my frustrations, the better I have been at bringing my concerns to Alicia in a loving manner. This has allowed Alicia to be more open, honest and forthcoming with her feelings. There is a new level of trust and safety within our marriage.
This trust has been established with Christ our Savior as the center of our marriage. When we pray together we openly place our hopes, dreams, and concerns on the table or our Father to handle. We can focus on our marriage knowing that our hearts are aligned. Our marriage is aligned by biblical design, and we have His Word to help guide us.
-Ken & Alicia Christiansen