Getting married in my mid-twenties, I thought I had an advantage over others. I didn't jump into marriage right after high school or in my early twenties. James, my husband, and I went to all six weeks of pre-marital counseling at our church, we had the support of our non-divorced parents and we were head over heals in love with each other...what more did we need for a great marriage?!
I was told the first year of marriage was the hardest, so when 10 months into our marriage rolled around without any problems or regrets, I thought our love must be stronger than most couples out there. Our marriage couldn’t get any better.
That first year came and went quicker than we could blink. As we approached our second year, things started to change. Our perfect marriage wasn’t so perfect after all. I’m not sure when it started, but I am sure the fact my husband forgot about Valentine’s Day didn’t help. When I asked him about it, he made a mad dash to the grocery store and brought me back a box of cheap chocolates and a little stuffed toy. Then there were the times that my husband came home from work and the house was in shambles with my 3 nieces running around like monkeys (not something your husband wants to come home to). The little things became big things. The small annoyances became big annoyances. Needless to say, our perspective on marriage began to change a bit.
Now, 6 years later, 2 small kids and another on the way, we have had our share of frustrations, fights, outbursts and even those “What was I thinking when I married this person?” moments.
During the disappointments we have faced in marriage, the biggest lesson we have learned is “Endurance.” During the ugly moments when our love for each other seemed obsolete and nothing seemed sweeter but to walk away, endurance got us through. Unfortunately, we have come to believe that if we hurt a little, are saddened a little or disappointed by our spouse, it’s time to throw in the towel. Finding our own happiness, separate from our spouse, becomes our focus. Most marriages end in divorce for this very reason. Recently in the headlines, the parents of the multiples in the popular TLC reality show “Jon & Kate Plus 8”, have filed for divorce. Last season they had an episode where they flew to Hawaii and read their hand written vows to each other. Unfortunately, the vows weren’t lasting. In another episode their reasoning is the fact they argue too much and it’s not fair to the kids. I’m sure there are others things that come in to play, but if it was solely based on what is fair to the kids, then they have been deceived. What is fair for them is to have both parents to raise them together, to see their parents mend whatever has broken instead of taking the easy road out, to leave a legacy to their children that although marriage is tough we chose to work at it. Marriage is hard, actually it is really hard at times, but these are opportunities to teach our children the importance of endurance.
Marriage has lost its sacredness in our society. It’s not precious to those that find it.
Looking back at the 6 weeks of pre-marital counseling my husband and I took, I can’t point back to one thing that encouraged me through the rough times we faced. I remember hearing a bit about sex, a little about finances and a lot about future goals. Nothing about our commitment to each other and how important it is to stick with the vows we are making to each, when the butterflies have flown away.
Marriage really is a beautiful thing. The good times far outweigh the bad times. The vows we make should be upheld before God, our spouse and our family. Marriage isn’t always about feeling “wonderful,” but it’s about respect, commitment, and love.