Love Does not Keep a Marriage Together

Love does not keep a marriage together.  I know that is what we all want to believe. We want to believe in the happy every after and the fairytale endings. But fairytales don’t tell the rest of the story.  Marriage is hard.

What right do I have to talk about marriage? I am not a marriage counselor. I am married, but I have not been married long, only six years. That is not a long time in the large scheme of life. We work hard to make our marriage stronger every day, but as in all marriages, some days we have more conflict than other days. Some days we try harder than other days. We love each other, though there are many days where we really don’t appreciate each others’ actions. There are times we are rude to each other and say things that we do not mean. I don’t say all this to berate marriage or bash my husband (it is a two way street), but I only want to be real with you, and this is the honest truth. I love my husband with all my heart, but that is not the reason I stay married to him.

I challenge anybody who says their marriage has been easy the entire time they have been married. They are lying. They are either lying to themselves or they are lying to you.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage has many good merits. I don’t mean to discourage anybody thinking about getting married. I do mean for you to think, to think long and hard why you want to get married and why you want to marry the person you want to marry. I want you to talk to each other and know that your opinions will probably change and that you will not always agree and you will probably forget to talk about the things you should talk about before you get married and during marriage.

This is not a lesson in how to make your marriage work or a check list of what to do before you get married. This is just the truth.

Lately, this subject has been on my heart. This season of young children has not been an easy one for my husband and I. We find ourselves, at times, disagreeing more than agreeing and we often find ourselves blaming each other instead of encouraging each other. Maybe this subject has been on my heart because I know of several newly married and young married people getting a divorce or talking about divorce. I know of some marriages that I thought were strong that are faltering and are on the brink of breaking up. I know of many women scorned and hardened and bitter about their previous marriage(s), and probably justly so.  It makes me sad; my heart breaks for them.

That brings me back to the point.

Love will not keep your marriage together.

It takes much much more than love. Marriage takes commitment, sacrifice, perseverance, and hard work. Lots of it!  You have to choose to work through your conflict and make your marriage work! Don’t compare your marriage to others and don’t pretend to be something you are not.  In this world of social media, all we see are glimpses of the good and the happy in people’s lives. Rarely do you see the whole picture.  A picture is not always worth a thousand words. Have you ever taken a picture and right before you snapped the picture,you were all fighting or the toddler was screaming or the teenager was sulking? Or have you ever been in a feud with your husband, then walked into church and put on the happy church mask?  People rarely take pictures of their kid in a tantrum or their husband with the other woman. They don’t usually take pictures of their house with laundry piles everywhere. I’m not saying we should post these things, and I’m especially not saying to get on social media or with your friends and bash your husbands or wives and hash out your spouse’s latest failings.  That is neither healthy, nor productive. I’ve heard of these said groups, and while I don’t try to be fake on my social media accounts, I do try to be real and positive. The world or your mother or your sister do not need to hear about your latest argument or the latest thing your spouse did to wrong you. I’m not saying to never discuss these situations with a trusted friend or mentor. However, I do believe that those moments should mostly be between you, your spouse, God and a licensed therapist, if necessary.

Yes, marriage is hard. It takes sacrifice and a whole lot of sweat!  You may wonder, why am I saying all this?  Haven’t I talked about how sweet and helpful my husband has been?  Yes, and he is, much of the time. But many times, he is not. Many times he fails me and yes, many times, more than I can count, I fail him. But you know what? We choose to stay together. We choose to work on our conflict and work on our marriage.  We both acknowledge that we are not perfect (most of the time). As stated before, I do not want to berate marriage or my husband, I just want people to know the truth, the real genuine truth.

Your husband is probably not going to pick up his shoes; your wife may never put your clothes away and they may constantly be wrinkled. Your husband may withdraw when he gets home from work or spend more time then you like in front of electronics. Your wife may insult your parenting skills.  Your husband will probably forget to pick up the milk. Your wife will probably bust your budget.

But marriage is from God, and only good comes from God.

“Have you not heard that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19: 4-6

Marriage is good. Marriage allows for unconditional love by choice. Marriage opens your heart and mind to other perspectives and other ways of doing things. Marriage is someone who is there for you when a loved one dies or when you are laid off or your dreams are crushed or your children go astray. Marriage is someone who supports you and stands up for you. Marriage is waking up to the same person everyday with morning breath and morning gas, and disheveled hair and no make up. Marriage is the man or woman cleaning up vomit on the carpet at two am. It is all these things and more.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Do you ever wonder why there are so many comparisons to marriage in the Bible?  God knows we need someone to slap us in the face sometimes (not literally). He knows we need unconditional love and great mercy. Oh the mercy we need, daily.  Perhaps God meant to show a glimpse of his unbounding merciful love and sacrifice for us. That he will love us no matter how much we argue with him, no matter that we fail daily. He sacrificed his Son. There is no greater love than that.  To lay down your life.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39

You know what else, Satan does not want your marriage to succeed.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spirituals forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6: 11-12

For if your marriage succeeds, then it is a testament to the one true living God. A testament that there is a God and he is powerful and merciful and just. God will see you through all that the devil throws at you!  When you feel your marriage is failing, please don’t give up;  keep praying and trying. For it is more than love that will see you through.

Prayer:

Oh, God,

Hear our prayers. Know we are sinners daily and we need your mercy daily. Teach us to love unconditionally like you and to practice great mercy daily. Be with our marriages and keep Satan out of them.  Amen

What are some ways that God has sustained your marriage?

 

Thank you for reading! Please share with those who might be struggling!

We Made it Through Five Years of Marriage!

January 16th marked my husband and mine’s five-year anniversary. Yay! We made it!  Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but with the grim statistics that always seem to be reported, I am overjoyed at this feat. It has not been without struggles, but we continue to grow stronger together. I told myself that I was not allowed to give marriage advice until we had at least been married five years (and even then, just advice to those who have been married for less than 5 years). Now, I am not a marriage counselor, so this is by no means professional advice. I am continually being humbled and shown what it means to love. I would just like to share what has helped my husband and I through our first five years. Hopefully it can help you in your marriage or provide a renewal.  I would love for you to share your advice, especially those who have been married for ten plus years!  We are nothing if we are not humble enough to accept advice or constructive criticism.
1. COMPROMISE: You hear it all the time. But for a control freak like myself, it is a hard pill to swallow. But there are things you will not agree on, and you will have to find a compromise.

2. Be direct with what you need. Guys and girls are different. There are multiple books written on the subject, but just listening to marriage complaints among your friends or co workers is enough to make you see that you are different. Men and women talk about different things. Just listen, and you will see. (Of course there are always exceptions). Men are not mind readers and they are not thinking about folding that pile of laundry that has been sitting in your living room for a week, or giving the dog a bath, or how much the floors need to be cleaned. They just aren’t. (We, as women, could probably learn something from them on that note). It does not mean they are purposely trying to infuriate you, they just need you to tell them what you need.

3. Try not to talk about your husband or wife negatively to others. There are times, especially as women, we need to vent  It  needs to be to a trusted person, whom you know will be honest with you. It is so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap and the bashing talks. But nothing good can come from it. Just walk away.

4. Say thank you! And I appreciate you. And I love you. Say it often. Say it again and again. Say it for any little thing. Thank him for taking the trash out even when he always does it. Thank him for walking the dog. Thank him for letting you sleep or workout while he watches the kid(s). Thank him for going to the grocery story or picking up dinner (even if forgets something or picks up the wrong item). Just remember to say it!

5. Take time for just the two of you. Make a pre planned date. Even if it is just driving around town for an hour. Maybe it’s twice a month, once a month, once a week. Find what works for you.

6. Have a weekly or daily devotional or family time. It does not have to be a drawn out affair. Maybe even just 5 minutes. I can tell a huge difference in my husband and mine’s tension and communication when we don’t do this. It keeps you honest and focused.

7. Your spouse needs to be first priority (aside from God). Not your kids, not your siblings, not your parents or in-laws, but your spouse! I strongly believe to have a strong relationship with all the latter, you need to put your spouse first. I know (especially with children) that it seems counter intuitive. But your kids will be healthier and happier for it. They need to see that you value each other. Where do you think they are going to learn how to be a functional member of society or learn how to love?

As stated previously, I am by no means a marriage counselor or therapist. The above statements are what have worked for my family thus far and my personal opinions.  I am just an ordinary woman trying to find the extraordinary in my daily living.

Finally, I am going to share some of my favorite books on marriage and relationships. I would love your book recommendations and marital advice!

Sacred Marriage: by Gary Thomas

Captivating: by John and Stasi Eldredge

Wild at Heart: by John Eldredge

Couples Who Pray: by Rushnell Duart

The Five Love Languages: by Gary Chapman

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Our One Year Anniversary!
Our One Year Anniversary!