Marriage is work? Where is that written? Because,

Nobody mentioned that one to me before I entered into it.

OK, that’s not true, and while wifey and I were the beneficiaries of some really great pastoral guidance, I’m not sure a person can truly know without experiencing marriage just how tough it can be on occasion.

The funny thing about marriage is you don’t even have to screw it up yourself in order to suffer.  I’m not suggesting there are tons of one sided relationships.  While possible, I’d wager that is darned rare.  Rather, outside forces can rock your union to the core.  If we agree things outside your control can push you off the perch, what about the things we allow ourselves?

-lies, especially those we convince ourselves aren’t of consequence
-sharp tongued assaults on one another
-choosing your sins as better with their sins being worse
-opting to not forgive
-opting to not ask for forgiveness
-skipping the sorrow and atonement for sin
-continual return to the same sin
-choosing our well being over our partners
-continually taking it to the next level because they started it
-being right over choosing righteousness
-assuming this list was meant for somebody else and not you

I read an article by Meg Marie Wallace that touched on many of the ones I came up with above.  I don’t see any above that don’t apply to me.  I’m not tickled to pen this to you of course, but at one time or another I’ve been guilty of every single one of those and plenty more.  I’m still struggling with some – the second to last being a big problem for me.  I can become embroiled in the argument and pound away at my ‘points’ I attempt to make in a vane effort to be ‘right’ without even noticing the debate really isn’t about that at all.  Sometimes it seems like my wife and I are two lawyers thundering away at each other in court.  Lord help me, I need work on that one.  …And it’s hard for me.  Darned hard.

I have friends, and as it turns out lots of them that have strayed in their marriages.  I’m learning that cheating isn’t that uncommon.  I’ve never been divorced, so I’m not saying that infidelity is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  However, it is a big trust betrayal I think we can agree.  Yet, marriages survive even when that happens.

So what are we really saying here?  We’re saying that we do a crappy job when using our hearts.  A hardening of the heart was what Meg referred to it as.  I think I agree with her.  I know I see plenty of that, and I’m guilty of having a hard heart in kind.

Marriage can be a struggle – I mean a butt kicking, knock your teeth down your throat, bloody nose, swollen eye, whipping boy struggle.  I don’t remember as often as I should that her needs are more important than mine.  Always.  I need to latch onto the self-control my wife deserves from me.  Meg is quoted as writing, “I’m talking about loving when the other is unlovable, and respecting when the other is not respectable.” and that’s easier said than done, although that is our mandate.  After all, we committed for LIFE to our spouse.

You know the upside to all of this?  We learn through committed marriages what love really is.  We learn the kind of love that Jesus has for us.  Who else would choose to die that way and take our sins away?  We’re taught through marriage what selflessness is and how to truly place another before ourselves.

Proverbs 4:23 – Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Be salt and seek light my friends.  Open your heart and share it in your marriage.

 

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