If you would have told me 20 years ago how much work went into the institution of marriage I would have looked at you with my star gazer glasses on and said "O but when you find your soul mate.." and "who ever fights? about money of all things?" Yeah I was young and thought I knew all about it...
I really can't imagine life with out my soul mate who IS the man of my dreams. I can't tell you how long I prayed he would ask me out and then FINALLY he did! After a whirlwind courtship we set off together with a whole truckload of ideals and a teeny tiny amount of "know how". We spent time in a third world country, faced infertility, experienced humiliating loss, endured a painful ugly period of separation and somewhere along the way gave birth to 4 precious miracles who have changed our selfish lifestyles profoundly. We are far from perfect (I often get in trouble for somehow portraying that?) but we have a history and by the grace of God will continue weaving our own legacy for our our children. There are still lots of things I wish I could change about him but hey it's a 2 way street and I know I am not perfect! We are total opposites and both of us are firstborns (scary really!) but hey our life is never dull that's for sure! And while our romance may not be scripted like the movies (yeah we always end up at Walmart and/or Hyvee on our rare date nights) it's perfect for me and a special blessing and gift from the Creator of love and marriage Himself!
The reality of the work that goes into every great marriage is enough to scare the most lovely, very brave souls away from taking the plunge and sadly is being played out in the decline of marriage even in the church today. A beautiful young friend recently made the comment to me that she doesn't desire to burden herself with marriage as every marriage she sees around her is failing and miserable. How sad and how often true? Marriage IS hard and we as the church are not making it any easier. What would happen if instead of gossiping about every detail of something suddenly made public like a divorce or separation, we took those moments and lifted the couple in the spot light to God's throne? What if we tried to imagine life in their shoes and it scared us enough to keep our mouths shut and our knees worn? As I ramble away here my heart is heavy for those around me who are in the depths of distress and despair in their marriages. Being honest about pain is hard and opens us up to other people and their reactions and judgements of our circumstances. What would happen if we put aside judgement and were more open with each other and could step along side each other saying "we struggle too"?
Because our personal history includes marriage issues that became public I feel the pain of others in sad marriages in deeper ways then I ever imagined. God has a way of making good things, learning and wisdom come out of our deepest pain. I do believe he is calling those of us who are married to mirror his love to each other through our marriages thus affecting the negative viewpoints of marriage in general and establishing a more caring environment in our church families and our world around us where those who are hurting can be honest with out receiving judgement! After all marriage is a gift to be nurtured, treasured and enjoyed to the fullest!