It seems like I have had lots of talks with my husband and girlfriends about marriage lately, and with each conversation, I believe that we leave always knowing two things:
- Marriage is hard.
- Marriage is worth it.
For those of us that are married, we know these things. For those of you that aren’t married yet, please know these two facts before you enter into marriage. I am so thankful that I had amazing Christian couples that not only showed me the blessing and joy of marriage, but they were also real with me about the toughness of marriage. I am so thankful that I knew things weren’t going to be roses every day and the story would probably not unfold like a fairytale.
Nathan and I have quite a few hard times. We have had those seasons in which we are frustrated with one another. Thankfully, we also have seasons of joy. I am most thankful that we have commitment. From the day that we were married, I know that God ordained us for one another, and because of that, I know that if we fully give our marriage to Him, it will be more beautiful than we can even imagine.
Sometimes we may wonder if this beauty in marriage is possible. I had a pastor friend tell me that he is certain there are many marriages entered into between two partners that are not exactly the partners that God had prepared, but once the marriage occurs, that marriage is an ordained work of God and through a contract like marriage, God can and wants to do mighty works.
Listening is so hard.
Nathan and I still struggle at this whole listening thing after 8 years of marriage and 5 years of dating. A lot of times, I think I’m listening, but I fail to act upon that listening. I really think it is essential for me to listen to Nathan’s passions and dreams and frustrations so that I can make sure to work at fulfilling his needs positively. As a woman and a mom, I so often get tied up in thinking my way is the right way.
Time together is worth it.
With 3 children (ages 5,4,3) and two full time jobs outside of the home, taking time together for just the two of us does not take as much of a priority as it should in our marriage. I have really been thinking about this a lot lately. We were blessed to participate in a marriage retreat led by Pepper Pratt in April 2013, and I will never forget him saying that we need to get Symsonia, Kentucky (our home), in our rear view mirror every other month. (I really think that he should provide childcare since he challenged us, but hey, I guess I’ll cut him some slack on that one.) I remember sitting in the pew thinking that would be amazing, but impossible. We have made that happen once since he encouraged us, and while that probably isn’t enough, it was a fabulous time together. I truly felt like we were reliving just a few days of our honeymoon.
Time together has been weighing so heavily on my heart lately that I have marked our date nights on our calendar for 2014. Please pray that we will stick to spending time together, and I will pray that you will be able to find time with your sweetie pie, as well. If you aren’t really liking that “sweetie pie” lately, I think spending time together is even more crucial!! Maybe we will only have time for a Redbox in the “man cave”, but surely that will be better than just passing in the kitchen.
When we do spend time together, another thing that has really been on me lately is that we need to not only spend time together, we need to do something fun! I don’t have to just be a married, grown-up mom. I get to live with my best friend, and he is pretty darn hot! I fell in love with him when we were young and dumb and acted silly – maybe we need to recreate those silly times watching dumb movies, playing basketball, shopping, etc. Maybe your fun will be dancing in the rain, holding hands on a roller coaster or playing hide and seek – whatever it is, we need to have some FUN!!!! I will never forget in our marriage counseling that one of the things our husbands need most is for us to share in things they enjoy, i.e. basketball, video games, golfing, monopoly, bike riding, etc. We actually added that in our vows, so I better keep my end of the deal.
Our fairytale must be written – they don’t just unfold.
Don’t we all want a fairytale love story that is always red hot passionate love? Don’t we always want our heart to skip a beat when we see our spouse? Don’t we want butterflies when we kiss? We do! But, is that reality all the time? Nope.
If we want this fairytale, we have to be active participants in our marriages. I can’t just sit back and expect Nathan to sweep me off of my feet every day, and I will never be everything Nathan needs. My best girlfriend always reminds me that Jesus is the only one that can meet all of our needs.
Think of fairytales that you do know. For a fairytale to evolve, the characters have to overcome real difficulty in order to develop and achieve the ending they desire. If we want a fairytale, we have to embrace our hard days, weeks, years so that we can bask in the pleasure of our “happily ever after” as we give our marriages and our spouses and ourselves to God for Him to bless us with a fairytale.
Men and women speak a different language, but our heavenly Father knows them both – only He can translate our needs for us to live that fairytale.