Often times marriage prep would require you to do some kind of soul searching or learning from your elders, who have been married for a long time. But I’ve come to find out that those are not the only ways.
I had no idea that in just a short amount of time I’d be learning about marriage by living with my younger sister.
I thought I had it figured out for the most part in terms of how to handle this single and selfless life. That is until my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to live with my sister who’d recently graduated from college.
I agreed to the idea, not knowing the assignment would aid my maturity and spiritual growth in the following three ways:
Living with a relative, especially after living on your own for a while can really challenge your habits, just like a spouse would. My sister and I did not grow up together, so we already had some differences to work through (and we still do).
We share space now, so there’s no need to put on pretend you are not affected by something. You can almost always sense how the other really feels in the home. When it comes to confrontation, I tend to avoid it big time. But living with my sister is reminding me why it’s so important to express my feelings about something that bothers me, or even ask for help.
That’s the same honesty, transparency and vulnerability that we need with our one-day spouses. You have to adopt the mindset that you don’t want to hide what you need to say while letting your guard and pride down before the person you love and care about.
Love covers a multitude of sins, and in this case, the quirks and habits that I’ve discovered my sister had. I have the choice to point the finger and call her stubborn, lazy or petty, but that’s too easy. And at this point in my life, it’s not the best way to live with someone.
Knowing that she’s going to do things that rub me the wrong way and vice versa, I have to extend some grace her way as God does for me.
A gentle approach at the right time can help me get the outcome I desire, which is what I learned from seasoned wives. I tried this approach with my sister before, and it actually helped things go smoothly between us when we had a misunderstanding. I rather approach her and my future husband with grace than a nagging attitude that fails to see how they’re feeling or how their day was before confronting them with an issue.
Being a witness
No matter what relationship, you should be helping one another become a better person. In Christian relationships, you should help each other become more like Christ.
I can’t just do whatever I want to do with my life because “I’m grown” or because I have someone I love watching me. My sister knows when I am praying, when I get up early and stay up late writing my book, and when I’m cleaning around the house. What I’m doing is setting an example for her, and I as the older sister take that responsibility seriously.
As a wife, I would have to take on the role of friend, lover and confidant to my spouse. I’ll be his helpmate, an example to him to keep doing the right thing, pursuing God and praying. My sister also keeps me accountable to live a life worth witnessing.
When I lived by myself I wasn’t wildin’ out. But now I am more aware of what my actions can mean to the people in my immediate vicinity. Women carry a lot of influence, and if utilized properly, we can be an asset and favor to our husbands, not a hindrance.
Instead of hiding or running away like I would in years past, I’m facing my own quirks, habits and issues by working things out with my sis. Who’s to say how long this season living with my sis will last, but needless to say I’m becoming a better person for it.
Hey BMWK, what’s one person in your life who’s teaching you to be a better person in your romantic relationships?