Today is our 8th anniversary. Don’t worry, I’m refraining from all the lovey-dovey stuff about how much I love being married and how awesome my husband is because you don’t really need to hear that. Admit it- you’d just roll your eyes.
Sometimes I feel broken looking at all the marriages that are failing. People that have just gotten married, people who have been married as long as we have, people who have been married for thirty years are all calling it quits.
This isn’t said in judgment. If that’s you, my heart goes out to you. I don’t know your situation and I know it takes two people to make a marriage work. And this isn’t for people who are in an abusive/horrific situation because that happens too. But most of the people I know don’t fall in that category. Most of them are just two very different, ultimately selfish people trying to build a life together.
I don’t have a one-two-three method for marriage happiness. That would be much simpler. I do, however, have a question.
If we’re asked, we know our marriages matters. We know what God says about marriage (Mark 10:7-9). We know that our children need our marriage. But we forget. In the midst of the day to day living- bills, jobs, kids, irritations- we forget that that our marriage makes a difference for everyone who knows us. Maybe you haven’t thought about that in a while. Maybe you’ve gotten distracted with thoughts of a better life, thoughts of chasing dreams that don’t include who takes out the trash. Marriage tells us a lot about ourselves; if you don’t like what marriage is exposing about you join the club.
Often we have the wrong viewpoint about marriage going into it. Marriage is often idolized, especially for younger females, as the do-all, be-all of life. If I can just get married, I’ll be happy.
No, you won’t. Marriage won’t make you happy. What you are already is magnified by a thousand when you get married. What’s in our hearts is what comes out.
The goal is to love and serve Jesus- not to get married. If God’s plan for you includes getting married, great! I don’t say that with a jaded heart. I sincerely love being married. But it will not make you happy.
So if I- a happily married woman- can look you in the eye and say that marriage isn’t the goal (and I would totally do that over some coffee if I could) then I think you should listen.
Because marriage is bigger than your happiness. I cringe when I hear people that just got engaged say that their fiance is going to make them happy. No, he or she probably isn’t. They can’t. Another person can’t make you happy. They can definitely contribute to making you miserable though. Choose carefully. Don’t settle for someone because you’re afraid there won’t be anyone else. It’s not worth it. You can live a fulfilling life as a single person serving Christ (1 Corinthians 7:32-34).
You get married because the two of you can serve Jesus better together than apart. And then you choose each other every single day. You build a marriage one day at a time. Every time you decide to put that person first, every time you decide to follow God’s plan, every time you pick their favorite you build your marriage. When you tell the truth, when you making knowing each other a priority, when you choose them over yourself you build your marriage.
It takes time to build a marriage. It takes much less time to tear one down.
We should be protective of our marriages. It makes me shudder to think that ours could break. That all the shared memories and future dreams could be fractured and broken. It could happen but instead of letting that paralyze me I let it motivate me: motivate me to look at the eternal picture, motivate me every morning to choose my man.
Not just for myself. Our children need our marriage. Our families need our marriage. Our church needs our marriage. And your children, families, and churches need yours. Your marriage matters.
Maybe we can hold our marriages together not just for our kids forty years down the road but for our neighbors, friends and coworkers who don’t need the discouragement of another marriage collapsing. Maybe we could even do it in a way that makes our children want what we have when they are grown.
Oh, and the song below is a current favorite. It’s hard to find a good love song.
Because he’s not just mine and I’m not just a wife. There is a fine line between prioritizing my husband as my most important person and expecting him to be my everything. Knowing that makes me a better wife.
Every night my husband and I practice a dance. It’s not ballroom dance or anything so elegant as that. It’s the dance of getting our children in bed and our nightly ritual started. It’s the dance where we sway back and forth, one doing this task and the other the next. The dance where sometimes we both try to lead at the same time and someone gets their toes stepped on. It’s a dance that we seem to get better at over the years although from day to day it seems we are just muddling through. We learn by repetition. Doing the same thing over and over every single night. Tucking our babies in safe and protected and loved seems to be a routine that teaches us as much as it means to them.
When those thoughts come up that you should have married someone else, let them glance off your mind and go right on. Remind yourself (yes, I’m saying talk back to yourself. You know you’re crazy already) that it’s not true. You are where God wants you. God is doing something in your life and in your husband’s life. Remind yourself that another person would not solve the problems but only create new ones.
Friends, today I am also guest posting about marriage at Phylicia Delta! Head on over to read more!