When I put it out there I was taking the 31 Days challenge, I asked for suggestions on what others would be interested in reading about. I took the compilation of responses and am housing them all under the umbrella of Soul Food, since there were so many great topics and I didn't want exclude any. One of those topic suggestions was marriage. Ooh boy. That's a big one. I could do 31 days on marriage. I could do 31 years, probably. But today, I want to focus this post on a few lessons I've learned from being married.
1. The movies have it so very wrong.
When my husband snuggles up next to me at night, and lovingly drapes his arm over me as we settle in to sleep, it is so sweet. For about 12 seconds. Soon enough he drifts off to dreamland and starts snoring in my ear. His body heat radiates like a furnace and it becomes too hot to let him touch me. I have to shake him to wake him up and ask him to roll over. Also: morning breath is real. Very, very real. There will be no standing out in the rain pleading with me to see how deep his love is for me, as he picks me up and kisses me passionately turning in a slow circle for cameras to see we really mean it. Rain does a number on my hair, and who wants to risk pneumonia? 1 Corinthians 13 doesn't say anything about love being romantic or theatrical. There will be drama, to be sure, but it has so much more depth than depicted on screen.
2. No one will make you more angry.
Your spouse will do everything wrong. Or so you'll think. There will be days you won't cut them a break. Those days might last for weeks. Everything they do will anger you or annoy you. You'll roll your eyes. You'll sigh exasperatedly. You'll wonder what you were ever thinking in committing the rest of your life to this person. Knowing someone so intimately gives an insight to the things that drive them the most crazy. Then, as you think they couldn't make you any more perturbed....you'll kick yourself for ever being bothered by them because...
3. No one will make you more happy.
You'll come home after the longest day of your life, and see the effort they put forth in getting dinner ready so you wouldn't have to. They'll rub your feet without being asked. She'll be the first to laugh at your jokes, and you'll readily laugh at hers. You'll see them play with kids, whether your own or someone else's, and your heart will melt for how in love you are with them in that moment. They'll make you proud. He'll make you pancakes every night for dinner when you're in your first trimester because it's the only thing you can eat without getting sick. When you're mad at them (see point #2) they'll do something goofy just to get a smile back on your face. Your heart will nearly burst for how much love it holds for your spouse. Don't ever forget those moments.
4. Marriage is messy.
See point #1. When you're sick, and have snot caked under your nose, or pink eye goop slathered on your lashes, they don't turn away. When families - yours or theirs - do something that makes no sense to either of you, you'll look into each others eyes and say in unison, "Thank God you turned out the way you did." When you can hardly see them over the piles of clothes that need to be folded, you'll take time for a sock-war. No sock is safe from being tossed into the face of your temporary opponent. This will result in losing more socks. When life hands you tragedy, devastation, and trials, you will hold each other as you trudge through the muck no couple should have to face. Your garbage, figurative or literal, will need to be taken out more frequently. There is no road map for keeping things - keeping marriage - orderly. Your relationship together will be your beautiful mess.
5. Nothing is more worthwhile.
Marriage is tough. Two independent people coming together to be one united couple isn't easy. It doesn't come naturally. It doesn't come without a lot of work, dedication, and compromise. When I said "I do", however, I gave my word. I made a promise. Took an oath. In good times and in bad. In sickness and in health. For better and for worse. I don't get to pick and choose what or when trials will come. I do get to choose to keep my word, however. That is a choice I will make every time. There is no greater reward, no better fulfillment, no more powerful growth, than being and remaining committed and faithful to my husband. You couldn't pay me any amount of money to throw it all away. Marriage isn't easy, but you know what? I'm tough enough. So is he. One day we'll look back and say, "We did this." We made it work. We loved each other through thick and thin. Through broke and broken. Through turbulent and triumphant. And every single step was worth it.
When God is the foundation of your marriage, your relationship is literally built upon The Rock. Turn to Him instead of against one another. He is still the Lord of miracles, and strong marriages are proof positive of that today.
You're worth it. Your marriage is worth it. Remind yourself every day if you have to. When the world asks you if you will stick it out, when it questions if you can take the heat, when it demands to know if you'll allow God to keep together what He joined together, you stare it in the face and answer with a resounding, "I DO."