I can count on one hand all the times I’ve ever thought marriage was easy, if my hand was a bloody stump on the end of my arm. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thought I’d rather have a bloody stump on the end of my arm than deal with any other person’s quirks and mood swings and bad habits and anger issues and all the fun things that make an individual…terrible.
Being married–by any worldly, logical evaluation–sucks a big fat one and by a fat one I of course mean like a salad or something cause guess what? You gotta look halfway decent for your man even when all you want to do is sit around drinking cherry coke and letting your hair air-dry naturally.
But I digress. (Or do I?)
Being married is the worst most hardest thing you’ll ever do. It’s exhausting when you do it right and it’s excruciating when you do it wrong. Theoretically it’s the closest relationship you’ll have with any human being. It’s draining–mentally, emotionally, financially and physically and all the other -allys. I can think of 300 million reasons to throw in the towel before you even tie the knot.
I can think of five times in particular that I’ve contemplated doing just that in the last year alone, because that towel was just so hard to deal with. I even considered murdering said towel on more than one occasion.
Thankfully, God stepped in before terry cloth homicide occurred. By way of divine intervention and butt loads of prayer, Caleb and I are not only alive, we’re together and we’re experiencing a hard-won joy like nothing our marriage has ever seen.
God is real.
He is near to the broken-hearted. Also He beats Satan with a stick, grinds him to a pulp, sets him on fire and flushes him down a toilet straight back to hell. (Don’t ask me where exactly that’s at in the bible but Revelations probably alludes to it at some point.)
God is for happy marriages, because God is for treating others with fairness, kindness, and respect. God is for forgiveness. God is for grace.
God is for our efforts in pursuing holy things. He is for us working hard in addition to closing our eyes and bowing our heads. He is for our good thoughts and intentions as well as our aching backs and our worn-out feet.
God is for friends who pick us up, who tell us the things we don’t want to hear, and who urge us down a right path.
He is for common sense and a biblical course of action.
God is all about action.
But perhaps (fortunately) best of all, God is all about unconditional love. Which is a concept most of us think we get until we actually have to put it into practice. And it turns out, we are pretty much epic failures in this area.
Not to sound discouraging and junk, but I don’t have it in me naturally to love someone who pisses me off and hurts my feelings. I can’t honestly tell you that acting out of love towards Caleb comes easy when–and this is just a for-instance–say, he doesn’t find my favorite red dress as flattering on me as I do. I don’t want to love him when he’s cranky for no reason. I don’t want to love him when we fight about bills or chores or schedules and he won’t listen and he enrages me and he won’t give me what I want which is basically to just hold me and tell me I’m pretty.
Real talk: there *might* be one or two things about me that bother him.
But let’s not pretend those are the hardest tests of unconditional love. Can I love someone through addiction, or depression, or sickness? Can I pray for my enemy, really? Can I get through those seemingly impossible times, those dark tunnels; would I single-handedly fight the devil himself for someone who hates me?
The answer is no. A thousand times no.
I’ll admit it–I’m not trying to be the hero of this story. I’m capable of many cool things but I know that certain situations in life dictate the need for miracles–and last I checked no human can perform miracles in and of his own strength.
And so, GOD.
Marriage–the process of it, the ups and downs, can not only teach us what commitment to another human being means, but it also shows us how committed Jesus is to us.
There’s a beauty in marriage that can carry you through the worst of times. The closeness you share with that person God gave to you cannot be treated casually because it is so, so special.
Love is an action that cannot be communicated telepathically. Happy marriages don’t come with the passing of time and a whole lotta Netflix. It takes this kind of impossible stuff:
•Showing kindness and patience as Christ did (even to those who wanted Him dead), despite our anger and despite someone else’s imperfections and offenses towards us.
•Forgiving others as God forgives us, with His spirit in our hearts.
•Encouraging each other’s strengths and talents, and lifting each other up even when we ourselves can’t see any other way to go but down.
•Practicing calmness through the most infuriating of circumstances.
•Giving of yourself when there is literally nothing to give.
You wanna love your spouse?
THEN LOVE THEM, with God as your strength.
And my prayer is that us married folk will all be picking that blasted towel off the bathroom floor every freakin’ day for next half a century.