And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
– Colossians 3:14
Our love story is not a Hollywood movie make. It could never compare to The Notebook, and the romance of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would just makes ours look laughable. No, we were just two kids thrown into this thing called marriage, and by the grace of God, trying to figure out how to make it work.
You see, my husband I and started dating at the young ages of 15 & 16. Yes, we were very infatuated with each other, we had fun, things were easy, but marriage? Well, I think we can both agree that that thought never really crossed our minds.
I became pregnant with our daughter at 17, we were both shocked, scared, and completely clueless. We had no plans of breaking up at the time, but knowing that we were now going to be joined together forever, even if just in raising our child, was more than either of us had bargained for.
For the first 7 months of our daughter’s life, we had no desire to get married. We were so focused on making this parenting thing work, that throwing in another life altering event was just too much. But around the 8th month, we both began to see that raising our child as boyfriend and girlfriend just wasn’t in line with The Lord’s will. We both really wanted to make up for the mistakes that we had already made, and marriage seemed like the perfect idea.
So, the thing is, we didn’t get married because we just couldn’t live without each other. We didn’t marry because our relationship was just so strong and unbreakable. No, to be really, really honest, we got married because we had a child together, and marriage was the right thing to do.
We have now been husband and wife for almost 6 years. Would I say it has been easy? Oh goodness, no! There have been many times where we have both wanted to bolt.. and the D word has definitely been thrown around a few times in the heat of another argument.
Do I think we are soul mates, a match made in Heaven, the perfect couple? Nope, I can’t say that I do. Sure, we have a few qualities that sync, and many wonderful times together, but saying we were destined for each other, well that would just be downright silly.
In my opinion, this is one of the biggest mistakes we can make, and one of the most destructive mindsets we can bring into our marriage: believing that our husband/wife should be our soulmate, and if not, well then we deserve to find the one who is. Believe me when I say this, it’s all a bunch of Hollywood bologna!
There is no such thing as a soulmate, there is no such thing as a perfect match. Every person has flaws, and any person that you marry is going to have moments where they drive you completely insane. Is marriage ever easy? I really don’t think anyone could say that it is. Sure, there are times where it’s great, but usually at a certain point in a marriage, those great moments become something that we have to really purpose to create.
Now, I might be sounding like a debby downer, but this is really not my intention. I do want to be honest, and real with you, though.
If you are like me, you have probably watched all of the most “amazing” love stories ever made into movies. The Notebook and A Walk To Remember are so romantically heartbreaking, that you can’t help but sob, no matter how many times you have seen them. Many times I have watched these movies, and longed for that kind of love.. that all consuming, can’t breathe without each other, no words to describe kind of love. But, lately I have come to realize that it just doesn’t exist. Yes, at the beginning of a relationship there will probably be those intense feelings of love. But that’s just it, they’re only feelings, and feelings do not make a strong, lasting marriage.
Emotions are so fleeting.. one day you might be totally in love, and the next day you want nothing more than to pack your bags. Marriage takes work, real love takes perseverance, dedication, and a will to not give up. You can think “if only I married so and so instead, or if only I had waited longer for the “right one” to come along, then I would be happy, then this marriage thing would be a piece of cake.” But, friends, this just isn’t so. You can search your whole life for that perfect spouse, but they won’t ever come. Marriage is never going to be easy, but I am starting to learn, that is what makes it so beautiful!
When we stop having so many expectations about how our relationship should be, and how our spouse should be treating us, we begin to realize what a precious gift marriage really is.
As Christians we are supposed to strive to become forgiving, kind, gracious, merciful, humble, and full of Christ’s love. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better place to practice these than in my marriage. When we look to Jesus in our most trying moments, we are able to let go of the frustration, and start relying on The Lord to provide what our spouse cannot.
We all have hurts, baggage, and pains from this wonderful thing called life, and because of that, we usually look to our spouse to fix them, to heal them, to give us the things that we felt we never received. In all honesty, though, it just isn’t fare to put those kinds of expectations on our spouse. No person can ever heal those areas that are broken, they’re usually just trying to cope with their own hurts, too. The only One that can, and the only One that we should ever look to to heal our pain, is Jesus. He wants nothing more than to restore you, to redeem you, to deliver you from the hurt. Marriage is an amazing, God-given gift, but it was never intended to complete us, heal our brokenness, or fill the longing inside. It is a man and a woman joining together as one, so that they can serve God, and build His Kingdom. If we start to see it for what it is, we will be able to forget about all of those unattainable expectations.
The strong, lasting marriages don’t come for free. They require each person to stop only seeing their marriage for what they can get out of it, and begin to realize that it’s about learning sacrifice, humility, kindness, forgiveness, and grace. We are supposed to love our spouse in the same way that Jesus loves us. Would you say that any of us are perfect, or deserving of His love? No, me either. But that has never once stopped Him from reaching out to us with His unfailing love, and His unending grace. Even if we think we are completely justified in our feelings and our attitudes towards our spouse, I can tell you this: we’re not. We are just as annoying, just as ridiculous, and just as “unlovable” as them. Does that matter to The Lord, though? No. He still loves us.. So, let’s love our spouse. He still forgives us for our billions of short-comings, so, let’s forgive our spouse for theirs. He stands by us even when everyone else would have left, so, let’s continue to stand by our spouse, too.
The next time our spouse does something to bug us, and we just can’t handle one more second of marriage, let’s think on Christ, and remember how He didn’t love us because we deserved it, no, instead, He loved us in spite of the unlimited number of reasons why He shouldn’t.
Since my husband and I got married, we haven’t achieved the happily ever after status. No, honestly, there have been some really, really, really hard times. I know he will nod his head in agreeance with me on this one, there are things about each other that drive the other person C-R-A-Z-Y! I mean for real! But you know what? That’s okay!
I have learned that it’s okay that we aren’t super compatible, that we both have qualities that we dislike about each other, that our marriage is not all rainbows and butterflies, because you know why? That’s what makes our love all that more amazing. It’s through our arguments, and our differences that we are learning to really, truly love one another. Love takes sacrifice. Love helps us to grow, learn, and become better people. To make a marriage last, we need to put our wants and ideas aside, and start to see our spouse with grace-coloured glasses. They’re not perfect, no, they sure aren’t, but you know, we aren’t either. Instead of focusing on their negatives, let’s give all of our attention to their positives.. because they really do have so many!
There will be moments when the weight of marriage feels like more than we can bear, when divorce seems like the only option left. But don’t believe that lie. Satan wants nothing more than to break up a marriage, because he knows how strong husband and wife are when they are united in the love of Christ. Don’t let him win. Don’t give up. Soul mates and perfect matches, well they really are just a big lie created by the enemy himself. A lie that he came up with to cause dissatisfaction, bitterness, and disappointment in our marriages. Don’t believe the lie, don’t think that there is a person out there more perfect for you than your spouse. It’s not true! No matter how “perfect” someone is for you, the sparkle of an easy relationship will always fade, and in its place will come those same discontent feelings.
So if you feel like you have married the “wrong” person, if you think that there is no way that you will ever be able to find happiness being married to your spouse, and you just know there’s got to be someone better out there, well I know how you feel. I have been there before, and I can tell you this, it’s a tough place to be. But the best advice that I can give you is to look to Jesus. Cry out to Him for help, I know He wants nothing more than to pull you out of that valley of discouragement.
Ask Him to give you strength and faith to lay down all of your wants, needs, and expectations down at His feet. Take that weight off your shoulders, my friend, and give it to God. He is more than able to change your heart, and to help you see your spouse for the beautiful child of God that they are, you just have to ask Him.
Let go of your ideas of that perfect marriage, and embrace the one that you got. Remember there was a reason that you fell in love with your spouse in the first place, remember that even though you can list a million and one different reasons why they are the “wrong” one for you, if you bring Christ into your marriage, then they will be, without a doubt, the right one for you.
Marriage is not ever going to be simple, our flesh is always really going to struggle with getting pushed aside for the sake of our spouse, but it’s in our most trying moments that we can see the precious love of God do its beautiful work in our relationship.
Do you have difficult moments in your marriage?
What lessons have you learned?
Let me know in the comments section.