communication, faith, family, life, marriage

What Marriage Really Is

I love to read marriage stuff when I’m scrolling online – all of it. The fairy tale, marriage is bliss stuff, the marriage is 50/50, marriage is 100/100, it’s tough, it takes patience, when it’s right you know… I just love to read it. Some of it I resonate with, some I shrug at the ridiculousness of. A lot of it, I see how much our culture has gotten away from the biblical perspective of marriage and how people have stopped inviting God into their lives, which inevitably makes me sad.

My favorites to read are the “real” posts about how marriage isn’t about waking up next to Prince charming aka your best friend every day. It’s grittier than that.

For me, marriage is waking up next to the person I’ve built the most with. We’re building children. We built a business. We are building a life.

Marriage is going to bed next to the person I’ve lost the most with. Jobs, a business we built, kids getting sick, even walking through a suicide attempt by one of our sons.

It’s sitting in the hospital together when one of us is ill, or when one of the kids is ill. It’s staring at test results and listening to doctors speak and trying to piece together what it all means exactly. It’s going in for an MRI, only to learn that something is different about my brain, and that it comes with complications, and knowing that I don’t face it alone. That God gave me a companion to endure the hard things with. coffee for two

Sometimes it’s the comfort of knowing that whatever life throws my way, I’m not alone. But sometimes it’s not that rosy, it’s arguing because we don’t agree how to do something major (parenting, finances, farming) and sometimes it’s wondering if he has the grit to stay. Sometimes it’s wondering if I have the grit to stay. Because it is hard to do life with someone so different from myself, but I wouldn’t really want someone the same as me. Someone different than me challenges me to think differently, to see differently, to accept that I don’t know the ONLY right way to do just about anything. There are a lot of ways to arrive at the desired result.

It’s praying, on repeat, for someone else to see something, change something, or grow. Then finally humbling myself to the voice of God and focusing on who I am becoming and letting Him focus on who my husband is becoming…and experiencing more growth together in the season that followed that moment than I even knew possible.

Marriage is seeing someone else’s sin and shame and deciding that I’ve been forgiven for too much to hold unforgiveness in my heart. It’s deciding to let go in the middle of being hurt so that we don’t heap offenses on offenses and dig wounds too deep to heal.

Marriage is sitting in a counselor’s office to ask someone else to show you how to communicate in the middle of a mess and brokenness. It’s walking in thinking your spouse sure has a thing or two to learn and walking out schooled. It’s learning to not act like a fool and put your foot in your mouth on the rare occasion that your spouse is the one schooled.

Marriage is reaching over to hold his hand because everything in life just got dumped on its head again and we have to find our new normal once more. But we don’t have to do it

Marriage is learning, sometimes gracefully, sometimes through wrestling, sometimes after stubborn refusal to yield, that we both have grit, we both have each other in mind, and we are going to face this life together. It’s learning that muddy shoes, or pants on the floor, or funny squeezed toothpaste tubes are not the end of the world. That preferences are like opinions and we all have them, and sometimes it’s my preference and sometimes it’s his preference.

Marriage is having someone to celebrate each victory with – because no one else truly sees or knows how hard that victory was fought for. Sure, our friends know, our parents or siblings know. But no one sees the in and out, day-to-day, like our spouse does. Maybe the kids, but after they’ve grown up and gone on to their own lives, it will be just us. And whiles kids see so much, they also miss so much. Marriage is about seeing past the nights we share our bed with a toddler, or hardly see each other for a second because all the kids have somewhere different to be, and seeing that when it all quiets, we’ll have each other. It’s about knowing that I don’t want to be in a house with a stranger when that all happens, so I better ask questions now, put forth effort now, no matter how tired I might feel like I am.

It’s permission to be too tired, too. It’s a peck on the cheek and an embrace and collapsing onto the pillow to sleep, with no hard feelings. It’s watching him undress after work and collapse in a heap and knowing that tomorrow there will be a shared moment in the morning, but for tonight, I will let him rest. It’s looking out for what is best for him, but not being forgotten in the mix.

Marriage is complex, sometimes complicated, and certainly worth it. My husband is my best friend, my sincerest companion. He is tender with me, but not afraid to tell it to me straight when I need a dose of truth. He is fun and he is funny and he makes me laugh. He makes sure I don’t take myself, my condition, or this life too seriously.

My husband is a gift from God himself, and I thank God for uniting us. For crossing our paths, and for connecting us. (And sometimes I ask God why on earth, too.) It’s not all good. And it’s not all bad. But there is a sweetness to walking through good and bad, thick and thin, sickness and health, with the same person, developing trust and relationship and confidence to withstand the next storm, to exclaim victory from the mountaintop, and to survive the sometimes mundane days of our lives.

Until next time,
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