Often when a young, Christian couple first gets married there’s this very innocent and naïve idea about how their marriage is going to work out. The philosophy goes something like this, “We love God, we love each other, so our marriage will be great.” This is a fantastic concept – for like a day – and then reality sets in and loving God and loving each other doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore. What happens between the till death do us part vows and the cold reality of many marriages with distant stares, avoidance through obscene busyness, and the frigid expanse down the center of the indulgent, tempur-pedic mattress? How do we get to this point, only a few years in, where our communication only reaches so far as to the basics of “how was your day”, and the trite response of “fine” and with that he lazily lounges upon the couch, watching the news, and drowning out the family while ignoring her disgust and eye rolls. She, hurt due to being unseen and unheard by the one who is supposed to love, honor, and cherish her, ignores him with steely glances and tempered snides and in revenge tunes in completely to the littlest members of the family who are actually vying for her love and attention and reasons to herself that “he will pay for this come bed time.” This is often the invisible crossroads when a couple must decide whether they will pursue the concept of being intentionally married, a desire to pursue passionately the concept of marriage and take the necessary steps to transform their marriage into something beautiful or the alternative; going the route of those sad couples, passing each other in the hazy fog of remembrance but not even caring enough to put forth the effort anymore; those known as the floaters.
Going back to my love of John Eldredge, he has this to say in his book Love and War regarding the state of many marriages today and the tradeoff that often occurs, he calls it, “A cordial peace accord in which we have both conceded a good deal of desire in exchange for smoother daily operations.”
This is sad but so true. Desire brings depth, depth brings an honest look at ourselves, and an honest look at ourselves often brings us back to a place of pain in our pasts that we are forced to deal with, properly grieve, and then rise above the ashes. Desire also brings passion, passion in turn breeds joy and pain because when you passionately love and work towards the best that something can be, in this case a marriage, there will then be disagreements, arguments, pain, and tears but tears bring healing and healing brings growth and growth ultimately brings us closer to Eden and to the heart of how God saw the concept of marriage in the very beginning.
Marriage is hard work. I thought I walked into marriage with my eyes wide open – not entirely true. I knew marriage could be difficult, and I knew that I was capable of honoring till death do us part vows in the hardest of circumstances; however, I was very naïve towards some of the less obvious issues that our unique situation would hold. A widow and a widower coming together brings a very interesting set of circumstances to a marriage, blending 7 children, adopting each others children, dealing with grief, blending extended families, getting over an idea that we would just plug each other into the spousal roles that we were used to, addressing our children’s grief, addressing our different upbringings and even cultural differences (yes, there are differences between where I’m from and where he’s from, even in America) and many other variables as well. I admittedly work hard at just about everything I attempt. I’m a text book first born, but I have loosened up considerably with the circumstances that life has thrown my way… but – I do not like to fail. I expect a lot from the relationships in my life and the relationship with my husband is no different. Poor man, I hold the bar high but I hold myself to the exact same standards, and I won’t back down and accept a mediocre marriage when we can have a fantastic one through awakening that desire for God’s plan in our marriage. It’s the difference between being floaters who pass each other in the night and the alternative of being intentionally married partners pursuing the lifelong goal of passion, pursuit, and a return to Eden. We choose to be intentionally married… for life. Can you say the same?
Just keep livin!!