In which [love looks like] a real marriage

There haven’t been too many marriage books or sermons that sound like what we have together.  But that’s okay – we don’t mind that. We’re used to being a bit out of step with what every one tells us to do.

It’s been nearly thirteen years since we fell in love, slow-dancing and kissing on the backroads of Tulsa, two teenagers crazy in love. Nearly eleven years since I ran down a chapel’s tiled aisle to you and nothing in our life looks the way that we thought it would or should because it’s all better than that, our dreams were too small, weren’t they? 
You make me laugh and you make me think hard and new, your eyes follow only me when we walk through a crowded room, we can have entire conversations using just our eyebrows and the corner of my mouth, we laugh about how tired we are sometimes. We have gone to the high places and the low places, crossed the deserts, gained and lost and still we are dancing. 
You have forgiven me when I could not forgive myself for how I had hurt you. I have held you up when you were sinking in the mires, praying joy into you. We are not perfect and sometimes, oh, I know we infuriate each other but there is that bone-deep knowing that we, this, all of it, is meant to be.  
So this is what we do, we make each other better at being ourselves, better at being like Jesus, we slow-dance, my head on your heart, your breath in my hair, your hands on my wider-than-they-used-to-be hips, our feet slower perhaps because we’re moving together.
Sometimes the questions people ask or judgments they imply can make us chuckle, don’t they, my darling? 
Well, who is in charge here?
We are.
Yes, but if push comes to shove, who is the leader
We are.

But then who is the spiritual head of your home?
Only Jesus.
It’s a slow-dance still, isn’t it, my luv? You lead and I lead, we are both following His music, no hierarchy here. We move together, one body, all for intimacy and beauty, the dance of lovers that know every curve and lean into the unknown parts with full trust in the hands they hold. 
I trust you completely, with every bit of our life, not because I must, not because any book commands it, not because God told me to submit, but because you earned it by loving me. And the thing that amazes some people is that you feel the same way for me, honoured among women, we submit to each other because we follow Him, we both practice playing second fiddle. 
When it comes to the end, we both bear the responsibility for this love affair, for our family, for the work that we are both called to do and the love we are meant to spill out to show the God we know as Love. 
You follow when I step out to a new place and I know when to slide into your new turn as a shadow and you lead us both through but usually, it’s just us, always us, trusting each other’s heart for the other, moving seamlessly, together. 
It’s our embrace masquerading as a dance, our real marriage, accomplishing only loving as a picture of grace drawing near.
I write sometimes about what love looks like for us
Edited to add: Yes, I admit it. This is my clumsy response to a rather cringe-inducing book coming out. Reviewed by my friend, Rachel, here.

post signature

love, love looks like, marriage, submission, women

7 Responses to In which [love looks like] a real marriage

  1. Kylie McCoy May 8, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Thank you for sharing honestly! Your words are refreshing!

  2. Alena@TheHomemadeCreative October 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    My (and my husband’s) favorite line… “we both practice playing second fiddle.” I think we’re both lip-service complementarians, simply because of how we’ve been taught/raised, but our marriage is far more egalitarian, I think. Nick hates labels (as do I), and thinks it’s ridiculous that these conversations have to happen (he also thinks it’s ridiculous that some men won’t change diapers, do dishes, or cook meals because “they have a wife to do it”). I think it’s important to know the terms, know the labels, and know where you personally fall in them, so that when push comes to shove OUTSIDE YOUR MARRIAGE FROM OTHERS, you aren’t taken by surprise or pushed into a neatly labeled box, especially one that isn’t accurate. We’re both iconoclasts, so the thought of labels makes us a little stabby :P

    • Alena@TheHomemadeCreative October 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Also, Sarah – would it be okay if I print out a slightly-edited-to-fit-us version of this, for my master bedroom? It’s gorgeous, so poetic, and fits us well. I’d be more than happy to credit you and your blog.

  3. Courtney December 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Sarah, this is absolutely beautiful. This is how I have often described my ideal marriage to friends…husband and wife as one flesh with Jesus as the ultimate authority. Thank you for your words.

  4. Kelsey Munger March 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    I’ve read this so many times but it still touches my heart; this is what I’m so lucky have too, and it’s beautiful.


  1. Reading Together – A Year of Biblical Womanhood – June: Submission « Janet K. Ray - January 13, 2013

    [...] Read the rest of Sarah’s essay here: In which [love looks like] a real marriage [...]

  2. Equality in Marriage: Does it Always Mean a 50/50 Split? | Kelsey Munger - March 4, 2014

    […] always us, trusting each other’s heart for the other, moving seamlessly, together” (from In Which Love Looks Like a Real Marriage). The dance of life changes, and the dancers naturally change their footwork to […]

Leave a Reply