In FocusMagazine

What assumptions have you made about marriage?

WhatassumptionshaveyoumadeDamon and I have been married for seven months. Before marriage, we had assumptions about married life. God has taught me a lot throughout this first year by showing me where my assumptions were wrong.

My first assumption was that my husband would comfort me and cheer me up when I was having a bad day. However, somewhere in the middle of kettle season, I realized the selfishness of this assumption. I was having a rough day; sleep deprivation had taken its toll. I just wanted my husband to give me a hug and say, “Everything’s going to be okay.”

At the same time, Damon was handling a difficult situation at the corps and just wanted me to say, “You’re doing a good job.” While we were both feeling pressured, we couldn’t help each other. We had to turn to Jesus. I am learning that, in marriage, we need to depend on Christ instead of putting our burdens on each other.

My second assumption was that it was going to be easy to center our marriage on Christ. After all, my husband and I are Christians, and we have dedicated our lives to serving the Lord.

“I am learning that in marriage, we need to intentionally carve out time to grow together in the Lord.”
When we were dating, we talked every night at 10 p.m. and finished our conversations with prayer. Now that we live and work together, finding time to pray and study is more difficult. We have realized that if we don’t set aside a specific time, these things won’t happen. I am learning that in marriage, we need to intentionally carve out time to grow together in the Lord.

My third assumption was that my husband and I would always act as if we love each other. We know that we love each other, but there are days when our selfishness comes out: when neither one of us wants to walk the dog, Damon doesn’t want to listen to my random stories, and I don’t want to help him find his socks.

On these days, I am reminded that love—real love—is more than an emotion or a phrase. Real love is a commitment, proven by action.

A theme verse for our marriage, 1 John 3:18 is: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”

What does marriage mean to me? Right now, it means walking side–by–side with my husband as we learn to depend on Christ, to grow in Him, and to live day–by–day with an attitude of self-sacrificing love.

—Lieutenants Allison and Damon W. Bethel
are corps officers at the Hartford (North End), Conn., Corps.