Tuesday, January 8, 2019

. . . perseverance

Some words define true love that I never would have included in a definition of love 25 years ago.

Perseverance, hard work, accepting disappointments, real life, forgiving.

I knew those were all part of it, but I thought our perfect love would somehow act like supernatural shock-absorbers to the sinful attacks.

We have learned first hand that "the best views come after the hardest climbs." 

I told my husband recently that I'm finally at a place where I can be thankful for our struggles. Because, they show that our relationship is not superficial or mechanical; we are in this together. No matter how we change or what we face, we are growing together, struggling together, fighting for our marriage, and laughing and coming out closer in the end. Thankfully, never satisfied with status quo.

While no one goes into marriage expecting it to fall apart, many people go into it naively thinking that love will carry them through, that for no reason other than they want it to; their marriage will be one to beat the odds. I would guess that many couples that have stayed together were just as miserable at one time or another as couples that divorced. I've talked to many wives in those valleys, and some as they walked out the other side of the valley as well, marriage still intact, if just barely, beginning again that uphill climb to a "good" marriage.

I have learned it takes a lot more than wanting it to last and expecting it to last to make it happen. It is not easy.

More than most posts, I really wrestled through writing this. And, in the couple months it sat in my drafts, God has continued to teach me and grow our marriage. It never quits, thankfully. I know 100% for sure that God wants our marriage to thrive. Do you know what 75% of divorces come from? Arguing and lack of commitment.

I am talking about the:

"I married a different person"

"I'm a different person now"

"We just don't like each other any more"

"All we do is argue"

"We've tried everything to fix us"

"Our family would be better off"

"I don't remember why I got married"

 . . . and on and on.

Marriage can be hard. It can go through valleys. But, we must press through each of those  sandbars, and on the other side you can find something completely new and fresh.

While many marriages aren't likely to that level of needing a counselor, they do need some hope, ideas, and prayer. Lots of prayer.

You can never let yourself stop trying. After a disagreement, sometimes I want to sit out an inning, but instead I need to remind myself of the value of marriage, dust off some old habits and start fresh.

Good old fashioned prayer and Bible reading can keep the fire burning. A few good books also helped to reset my thinking and give me some hope and inspiration (Paul Tripp's book, What Did You Expect? is amazing, I'd also recommend Cherish by Gary Thomas).

Pray for yourself. I prayed for my husband. But, I realized I also needed to pray for myself. I started praying that God would help me to love my husband more in the ways that he would sense. God reawakened love in areas that had grown a little cold. The intensity of our expression and emotion of love might ebb and flow, but when we notice it diminishing, we need to dig in and nourish it afresh.

And, obviously, pray for your husband a lot, too. After all, he's the one that has to figure you out  and stay happily married to you as well.

Marriage is very much worth fighting for, and we need to make sure we don't spend a single day just coasting.  

Then, the rest of the posts I wrote back in the fall came into play -- Find time alone, be thankful, read about marriage, kiss for real, forgive, and review your vows now and then.

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