Married Warriors

Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a trilogy on the Art of Husbandry.

It might seem like an oxymoron at first; being married and a warrior at the same time. After all, aren’t warriors supposed to be single-wild and untethered, free to pull up roots, and explore the world?  

Going Solo

On a recent getaway to Colorado with my wife, a warrior-aged guy backs up his panel van next to our Crosstrek at a public park overlooking an alpine lake. He opened his back van doors and lies down on his makeshift bed-alone. His license plate said it all; New Hampshire. Reading a book and hanging out, this guy was doing the warrior life solo. Not sure the guy’s story, but adventure was written all-over it!

New Adventures as a Married Warrior

Adventure doesn’t disappear the moment you say “I do”. It changes. That woman you pursued, wooed, and loved, she said “YES” and now your warrior years have taken on new meaning. New facets. New adventures. You might be done with solo treks across America in your panel van, but that doesn’t mean life is suddenly over now that you are married. 

Living with an Understanding Wife

One of the things I appreciate about our daughter-in-law, Anna, is she sees the value of the friendship her husband, Justin, (our son), has with his best friend Ross. She knows these two warriors in their mid-twenties need adventure together. For them, it’s mountain-biking in Utah, hiking in Montana, climbing a 14er in Colorado, a canoeing adventure in Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada. 

Beyond geography, they need an adventure of the soul-kind. Bonds anchored in a brotherhood rooted in Christ-exploring the manhood journeys God has them on. Dreams of character, of courage, of relationships, of navigating singleness as a warrior and as a married one. 

Yes, you can be a warrior and married at the same time. 

You don’t have to turn in your warrior-card at the altar.

Forging New Adventures Together!

In fact, being married adds a whole new layer of adventure-figuring life out together. How do you become an Ephesians 5 husband? Whatever that is anyway? How do you navigate all the accouterments a woman brings into a home? Depending on your aesthetics, you may want those deer antlers over the mantle while she wants a floral wreath and candles! (Guys, you realize it’s not about antlers and wreaths-it’s about walking the road of oneness.)

Sure married warriors need to pick up their socks and underwear wherever they drop them in the house, and empty their beard-clippings in the trash and not in the sink, but beyond the daily adjustments of being married, there are deeper adventures that come with being a warrior and married.

There are adventures out there for sure, but there are also adventures of the soul. The day you married, your personal adventures weren’t all discovered. There are still mountains to climb, The great news is you don’t have to go it alone! Just as Jesus promises to be with you, by faith, 24/7/365 as a single warrior, He is also there with you as a married man too. 

Married Adventures

“Jesus, my wife, and I are not on the same page with how to spend Saturday. Father me as I lead us. Not to demand my way, nor to passively back off, but to listen to her heart-to mine and to do things that will nourish us both.”

Becoming an Ephesians 5 Husband

No one told me about becoming an Ephesians 5 husband. I’m pro-Scripture but when I was a warrior about to marry, I had no clue what married life would be like; what it meant for me to be a husband. All I knew was Sandy was the woman of my deepest dreams and I couldn’t wait for the honeymoon!

To give you the “Cliff Notes” version of Ephesians 5:25-33…Christ poured his life out for us, the Church (those who have put their personal faith in Jesus for salvation), through the Gospel. He did so so that we would be nourished and cherished. He wants us to be all that he meant for us. Redeemed. Restored. Life in abundance. “In the same way”… husbands are to love and nourish their wives so that she is at her pique; as the woman, God created her to be. 

The Married Warrior’s Greatest Adventure

Men. Married men. This is your greatest adventure. Who your wife is for the first five or so years of marriage is largely a product of her parents; her upbringing.  Who she becomes after that is largely an indication of how well you husband her.

Married Adventures

Here is a list of adventures Sandy and I experienced in our early stages of marriage. Adventures that took me from being a single warrior to a married one. Some, you may experience too. Others are unique to ours.

  • Immigrating Sandy to America
  • Her moving into my 1929 Bungalow bachelor house
  • Meshing our belongings together
  • Defining our new us; decor-wise
  • Creating a Friday night pizza and movie ritual we still do today
  • Discovering intimacy in sex!
  • Folding in new social circles
  • Weekend trips to orient Sandy to the States
  • Getting used to feminine products in the bathroom
  • Acquiring a new repertoire of music
  • Planning guy time while she has her girls night out
  • Staying connected with her parents in Canada and building a healthy relationship with them
  • Discovering a common ministry we can have with youth. (this has now morphed into co-mentoring couples through pre-marital counseling.)
  • Taking her camping.  Or, should I say glamping! 
  • Deciding when to have kids: you’re welcome Karissa and Justin!
  • Working through roles in our relationship
  • How to pray together
  • Planning vacations and holidays

And, amidst all of that, how to nourish and cherish her. 

That my friend will be your greatest adventure as a married warrior.

One tip: Don’t try to figure it out alone.  Ask God to father you through this, and find a seasoned husband to mentor you through it, as well.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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