I have spent the last five years of my marriage fighting to be the one in control, fighting to have the final word, fighting to be the one to lead. I have been so determined that being equal to my husband is to have equal say and equal contribution that I missed a critical point: the point of dying to oneself and ones desires and seeking instead the good of the other.
I didn’t know what our marriage truly meant until this past year of marriage. It took the breaking of my heart multiple times over until I was so broken down that I feared there was nothing left. I had nothing to give. And I feared that my heart was so torn to pieces that I couldn’t receive love in turn.
And then I saw Nicholas, my husband, die to himself for me, over and over again. I saw him let go of his needs for tidiness. I saw him put away his need for time alone to sit with me and be present. He encouraged me and helped me get into therapy. He was patient with me, through all my emotional outbursts, the worst of my postpartum anxiety, the crushing temptations of postpartum depression. When I was ready to metaphorically walk away, he grabbed my hand from the rubble and firmly said, “no, I will not leave you.”
And so, with love, my walls began to break down. I saw my husband’s service and love to me anew. I saw how in dying to himself he had helped to make me new, and I determined to do the same. And so, when my husband began searching for new employment, I said simply, “I will follow you anywhere.”
And that simple phrase, “I will follow you anywhere” became my refrain for the past year. When I didn’t believe in myself and my husband was the one coaching me through, I had to reply, in trust, “I will follow you anywhere.” When faced with the decision to either keep teaching full time or to resign my position, my husband encouraged me to resign, seeing how much that school had exacerbated my anxiety, and so, I said, “I will follow you anywhere.” When Nick began applying to places as far as Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, I looked at him and simply said, “I will follow you anywhere.”
And when I stopped tried to lead, stopped fighting for control, when I gave myself over in trust to Nicholas’ leadership, when I responded with a “yes” instead of a “no” while kicking and screaming, when instead of saying “my way or the highway” it changed to “I will follow you” from a place of trust and love, our marriage shifted. No longer was it built on sandy shores near high seas. Instead, it became an impermeable fortress, built on solid foundation, immune to the outside conditions. It will stand no matter the trials, and indeed, the trials will make it stronger.
And so when Nicholas looked at me and said, “I have a job offer at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh,” even though it meant leaving behind all that we know, leaving behind the friends we have just started to grow, leaving behind so many memories, even though it would be easier to stay, I looked at him and said,
“I will follow you anywhere.”
And though this new journey scares me, though it means leaving behind friends and living further away from family, I have trust in the Lord and His providence. I know that this new adventure will mean dying to myself in a hundred new ways. I trust that God will use these little sufferings for His Glory. For through this journey, the Lord has shown me my husband’s strength and created in me a new understanding of our marriage: our marriage is something beyond ourselves, a source of supernatural grace, something that can sustain us in the hardest of moments if we allow it. And so I look forward to building a new home on solid foundation for our family and our marriage, that we may be led to a deeper trust in our Lord. Through it all, I will continue following Nicholas’ leadership, and in doing so, trust that I am also saying to Christ, “I will follow you anywhere.”