Our Wedding and Engagement Photos. I’ve had quite a few young friends ask me this year – what would you tell your young self about marriage? Being a wife? After 25 years, I’m still not sure. I wasn’t naive enough to think that choosing to live ‘until death’ would be easy. I came from a long line of divorces on both sides with my parents, as did my husband. We knew, on day one, that we’d have to live intentionally.
We chose not to have children right away. We wanted time to create memories. Build a life together. Explore and adventure. Create albums full of reminders of ‘why we got married’.
I read an article this morning from a gal who is celebrating 36 years of marriage. She made a list of 36 things she has learned about marriage. It was really discouraging. I thought it sounded like Marriage Sucks. Living with someone is horrible. But Buck Up – You Can Do It – if you struggle really hard – the payoff of not ever going the route of the D word is worth it.
I say life is hard. Marriage is a choice. I choose, willingly, on my own, to vow to walk through life with this man. I knew life wouldn’t be easy. I really had no idea what kind of a partner he would be through the thick and thin. But we chose.
One thing that has kept us together is my / our resolute desire to adhere to Covenant. I believe we entered into a covenant between each other and God. For me, the D word isn’t a choice. Staying together is. We’ve had times where we needed to separate for sanity and health. If you believe in Covenant – you’ll know where my heart is. If that word is foreign, then there is no way to describe it in this post.
Outside of covenant – which can be arduous and hard – is choice. Choice is Freedom. His Mercies are New Every Morning. This morning I get to make choices for myself. As a mom, wife, girlfriend, employee – my choices. Do I clean my sink? Wrap Presents? Prepare a nice breakfast? Fold Laundry? Blog? Check my Work Calendar? Call or text a friend? Make an appointment to get my eye brows waxed?ha. Read a book? Watch a movie? Rest? Exercise? Paddle in the rain? Those are all my own life choices this morning. Nothing the man sleeping in the room next to me has any control over. How much joy, pleasure, release, excitement, sorrow, guilt or shame I get from doing or not doing life – has nothing to do with him. My choices. My responsibilities. My priorities. My reactions. My Freedom.
Life is hard. Health, finances, relationships, jobs, church, obligations – navigating it is hard. People want to say Marriage is hard. Marriage – to me – is walking through life with someone. Family and Friends choose to walk with you – but not beside. They get to back off when life gets messy. They get to come over when you make chocolate frosting. But the day to day sludge of who cleans out the fridge? Who whacks down the blackberry bushes? Who cleans out the chicken coop? Those decisions need to be made whether you are married or not.
Marriage is realizing that he is going through his own hard life too. Jobs, Health, Healing. How do I help him? Physically, emotionally spiritually? The more I fill his tank, the more mine is filled. Sure, we’ve been through spots where I’ve felt empty from the continual pouring out. But I know how to fill my tank throughout the day, little by little. Choice.
The boys and I are crazy adventure seeking junkies. I have a post to share with you about surfing a backwards flowing river in the rain and 50mph wind gusts. He was happy to stay home in the house and watch tv with the warm heater. He gets excited over our adventures, but physically can’t take part right now. But I remember. When we were first married, he was the adventure leader. Taking me on camping trips, hiking trips, fire building, fishing, hunting. When I’d rather be home under a blanket with a book. I don’t think he knew what he was sparking.
We’ve been through the ringer, as friends. We’ve tested our limits of what can be forgiven. How much grace can really be poured out. How much mercy needs to be washed over our own actions. 25 years people. We’ve been through it. Life. we’ve been through life. And we have a lot more to go through – together.
So if you are reading this, and you are struggling in your relationship with your spouse, I just want to encourage you. Cyber hugs and all. I know that feeling of disconnect. Wondering Why. Pray. Look at what you are choosing to do today. Make choices today to fill your cup. Take care of your responsibilities. take care of yourself. And find at least one thing – hopefully more – that you can do for your spouse today that is unexpected. Depending on how disconnected you are – even do one thing that is expected that you’ve drawn the line in the sand to not do. Go sort socks. Make a special lunch. Clean out his truck. Really disconnected? Kiss for more than a lil peck. Hold hands today. Something.
Quit focusing and blaming all of your hurt feeling on ‘marriage’. Life is hard. Walking through it with your best friend should make life easier. Forgive. Choose Grace. Choose Mercy. Pray.