Stay at the Table…
Recently, I was talking with a friend and she used the phrase, 'stay at the table'. I loved it, so that is the topic this week!
Often we go into marriage thinking that we don’t want to rock the boat. We think that everything will be ok if we don’t argue or disagree. Then, reality hits us and we realize that the dream world that we've created in our minds, doesn’t exist. There will be arguments, and there will be disagreements, yet they don’t have to leave you, or your spouse broken and distraught. Rather, they can set your marriage up for years of success if handled correctly.
When two people are coming together to become one there are many things that happen. We learn to trust God for one. We must trust that we cannot do this without Him. We must trust that he doesn't make mistakes. We must trust that He is in control. Also, we bring lots of differences into the relationship. Our different upbringing. Our different styles of eating. Our different views and outlooks on the world around us. It doesn’t matter what that looks like for each individual. Whether race, religion, growing up in 2 or 1 parent households, and growing up with animals allowed in the home or not. Differences between the two are inevitable.
And the Two Became One
When God brought us together, He knew exactly what He was doing, and didn't make a mistake. He knew that there was something in them that would be good for us and something in us that was good for them. He knew that hubby love and I were from two totally different backgrounds. I went to private elementary school; both of my parents were married my whole life and we lived in the suburbs almost as long as I can remember. He on the other hand grew up in the ‘hood’, his parents were divorced by the time he was five and he lost his mom when he was 15. Yet God thought that we were a perfect fit for one another.
He wanted to live in a small house (to my standards), I on the other hand wanted to live in a large house. He wanted our kiddos to attend public school, I wanted them to attend private school. I went to a certain church growing up, he no longer wanted to attend that church. This entail caused many disagreements, and many arguments. Yet, we too had to learn to 'Stay at the table'!
What does that even mean?
It literally means, stay put. Do not run. Sit and talk it through.
Conversations are going to get rough, and not just superficial topics either. House, school, or diet choices are worth a conversation, but there are more weighty matters that will come up. For example, the two of you are of different races. There are cultural differences that will need to be talked about and can’t just be brushed aside, swept under a rug sort of speak. Right now, to be in a black and white relationship can be trying. The hurt on both sides can cause some tension, or some closed mouths for fear of hurting the other even more. Maybe you are Hispanic and your spouse is Japanese American. There are many differences that the two of you will have to talk about. Both of you, will naturally have two different ideas on how the house should look, or how to raise your children. Yet, the reality is that it doesn't matter if you're in an interracial relationship or a same race relationship, every time, there will be many, many differences that the two of you will have to talk about and work through. To stay at the table means, to have those hard conversations no matter what comes about, we will stay here and fight to become one under God, as He uses these topics and conversations to further sanctify us in Him, not as a tool to divide those who He calls His own.
Yes, this too is used for our sanctification. Biblestudytools.com defines sanctification like this: In the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God's design and purpose.
Everything that we endure here on earth is helping us to live according to God’s design and purpose. He will make us holy as He is holy, so on that glorious day we will be able to enter heaven and be with our King forever. Marriage is a part of that sanctification process, and these conversations, stay at the table moments, teach us how to endure, no matter what we must go through as a result. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the Christian life. Enduring and striving until the end, with peace, patience, and love. That’s sanctification!
Marriage is a part of that sanctification process, and these conversations, stay at the table moments, teach us how to endure, no matter what we must go through as a result.
I know what you are thinking. And the answer is, yes, it is very difficult to let out our deep pains or qualms about our hurtful upbringing. You see, I was molested by a girl when I was 8. I was raped when I was 14. And because of that I am quite ‘over’ protective of my kiddos. My husband and I have had hard conversations about why I am not ok with our kids doing sleepovers, even with some family members. Through tears, we had these discussions. Hard discussions. I felt like for a woman to be raped was horrible and never her fault. He felt that most of the time it probably was her fault. Or the fact that I grew up in predominately white neighborhoods and had mostly white friends. We have had conversations on why he spoke a certain way yet, is extremely educated. He said it was cultural, I said he sounded uneducated. However, we had to stay at the table. Refuse to get up or give up. Hear each other out. Really listen to what the other person had to say and hear their heart on how they felt about the topic, and why they felt that way about the topic. Now, I am sure there are some out there that have worse stories than ours, and need to have deeper conversations than we’ve had to have, however, the 'stay at the table' moments are not too far to be redeemed and healed by God. Again, He put you with your spouse for a reason. To learn to trust, and to become one. And it is seemingly impossible to become one or learn to trust, if you don’t stay at the table, have the hard conversations, rest in the truth that God is in control, and know that this will work out for your good!
To stay at the table is hard, and not for the faint at heart at all. It is so much easier to get up and walk away. But God never said that the narrow road would be easy, yet, He did say that it would be worth it!
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
Be Faithful, Be Free