I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my marriage. Actually, I do that a lot. It blows my mind that Amber and I are now in our 20th year of marriage. We’ve been through so many ups and downs together over these last many years. We’ve had our share of disagreements and many, many more moments of just pure joy of being in each others company. I’ve been blessed over the last couple of years to primarily work from my house. One thing that never gets old is spending our days together. I get to talk to my wife while I’m working and spend day after day in her company, which I cherish.
I look all around us, and I see just how lucky we are. We’ve seen marriage after marriage around us crumble or those that have already in the past. It saddens us to see. I was remembering words from the character, Nathan, in the movie ‘Courageous.’ He said something to the effect that divorce is so rampant because people “make it option.” I have never understood why this is such a widespread epidemic. It’s so easy to just call it quits now.
I realize that this is such a problem, obviously because of our fallenness, but also that when we hit road blocks in marriage we feel like there’s no way through. Amber and I are beginning to read through the book ‘Love and War’ by John and Stasi Eldredge. Early in the book there is something that is so widespread true where they share…
“Everybody who has been married knows this. Though years into marriage it still catches us off guard, all of us. And newly married couples, when they discover how hard it is, then seem genuinely surprised. Shocked and disheartened, by the fact. Are we doing something wrong? Did I marry right person? The sirens that lure us into marriage — romance, love, passion, sex, longing, companionship — seem so far from the actual reality of married life we fear we have made a colossal mistake, caught the wrong, bus, missed our flight…Maybe it’s just us…Nope. THIS IS EVERYONE (emphasis added).”
Marriage is full of its ups and downs and I think the picture of so many marriages failing and couples falling away from each other is the very image of man falling away from God when things don’t go our way. How easy is it for us to turn from God and move further away from Him, when we feel hurt or experience pain and trauma in life. We make it an option.
There’s a chapter in ‘Love and War,’ that while we haven’t read it yet, the title says a lot about who we are to be in marriage. Back-to-Back with Swords Drawn. It’s a given that there is going to be so much in our lives that is going to try to eat into our marriage and tear us apart. Just as the evil one wants to pull you further from God, he wants to do the same to your marriage will use all kinds of tactics to do so. This could be boredom and complacency, temptation of looking for that golden man or woman, financial problems, toxic soul ties with people around you both, and a host of other problems. In marriage, you have to stand back-to-back and shoulder-to-shoulder ready to battle together against anything that will try to tear your marriage apart.
John and Stasi share something else on the same page regarding the struggles we face in marriage…
“For heaven’s sake, bring together a man and a woman – two creatures who think; act, and feel so differently you would think they’d come from separate solar systems – and ask them to get along for the rest of their lives under the same roof. That is like taking Cinderella and Huck Finn, tossing them in a submarine, and closing the hatch. What did you think would happen?
I love this, because it’s so true. There are many that have the expectation that they should always get along when they marry, but as we all know, who have been there, it just won’t be the case.
In my home, I have all kinds of books and things I am reading or I use for my counseling studies and research. We have a sitting area in our master bedroom and there is a chair and ottoman. I have a habit of leaving my books stacked there where I can easily get to them when I need them. Amber can’t stand it, to put it bluntly. For our sake, I agreed to move them the other day. The point is this, we just see it differently, but that’s okay. It’s a matter of how we deal with it.
Amber and I, just as with any marriage out there, are in this together. Back-to-back with swords drawn. The thing with the books stacked may seem so petty, but trust me, it can blow up in bigger things if you let it. One thing that can never NOT happen in marriage is communication. Amber and I talk about everything. She knows my heart and I know hers. That’s what has helped us collaborate through our marriage and make it through the storms that have come along. We fight through everything together. So many times we’ve seen marriages fall apart, this key thing, communication is the one thing that was non-existent.
If you allow the enemy to setup shop in any part of your marriage, he will pry at you to tear you apart. Don’t give him that foothold.
You are in two covenants in this life. One is with God, through death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. The only other one is your marriage. A covenant is not a contract. A contract is all about what is in it for you. A covenant all about what you can bring to the relationship. God desires to surrender your full self in relationship with Him and surrender yourself to your marriage to serve one another.
Don’t make divorce an option. If you are finding trouble that seems so hard to get through, know that you’re not the first and there is a way through. Work through it together and if need be, seek out a counselor to help you both walk through it together. Back-to-back and should-to-shoulder with swords drawn, you can fend off the all that is thrown your way.