While I would love to say that I am starting a new blog series…I would be kidding myself. haha. I have always wanted to have a Marriage Monday series but that kind of reliable writing time is just not in the cards for me right now (neither is reliable shower time, reliable grocery shopping time or reliable sleep). So for now, welcome to my occasional, non-commital, when-all-the-stars-align and I have a clear head and a cup of coffee series.
I read an encouraging snippet from another blog this morning that touched on a tender spot in my heart right now. It was a quote from Pastor Richard Baxtor author of The Godly Home (which I haven’t read obviously. haha. Just kidding. I really haven’t read it though). It challenged…
“It is a relation of love that you have entered.
God has made it your duty for your mutual help and comfort, that you may be as willing and ready to comfort one another as the hand is to help the eye or other members and that your converse may be sweet and your burdens easy and your lives comfortable.
If love is removed but for an hour between husband and wife, they are as a bone out of joint; there is no ease, no order, no work well done till they are restored and set in joint again.
Therefore, be sure that married love be constantly maintained.”
Marriage is hard. If you haven’t experienced this than you haven’t been married long enough yet. We recently celebrated our 7 yr anniversary last week and, to be honest, it was bitter sweet. We read over love letters that we had written to each other on our one year anniversary (all together now…”Awwwww”) the reading of which resulted in frustration and tears and the rest of the night spent talking through those messy, red-faced, snotty tears. haha. Romantic right? What we were reminded of in those letters was a season of life that is gone…for now. We had minimal responsibilities – we worked, were involved in a church and otherwise just spent our days “pal-ing around” and gazing into each others eyes.haha. We were rested. We were (able to be) our best selves. We had minimal stress. We did whatever we wanted to do. We had time for ourselves, for God, for each other all resulting in this really beautiful time of selfishly pouring into and laying the foundation for our marriage.
To borrow Graham’s analogy from that messy anniversary night – as the years have passed, our pie which was once divided up into a few big slices (me, you, us, work…), is now divided up into seemingly hundreds of slices…and our “us” slice or the “gaze-into-each-others-eyes-and-talk-about-how-wonderful-we-think-think-each-other-is” slice has gotten thinner and thinner as children and the responsibilities of life, work, ministry, and family have grown. The tears that night were a sort of mourning-mixed-with-bitterness over how hard this is compared to the way it used to be when it was just us. (Oddly enough, when it was just us I think we actually thought it was “hard” – like, “oh my gosh we cant agree on what to do this weekend!?”Oh man.)
Anyway, I am (asking God) to work on the bitterness part but I think God’s grace to us right now during this really exhausting, not always fun, do-you-even-still-like-me(?) season is that we are painfully aware and open and honest about the “bone out of joint” so to speak. “If love is removed but for an hour between husband and wife, they are as a bone out of joint; there is no ease, no order, no work well done till they are restored and set in joint again.”
And that is where we are. Working together to set the bone back into joint in so much as God allows us to during this chaotic and demanding season. Not fighting each other but fighting the problem, together, as a team. Even though the fighting for the love is messy and often results in tear-filled date nights and late night painful conversations, the alternative seems worse – to just put our heads down and grind through, what, the next 5-10 years of having young children and just hope that our marriage will come out in tact on the other side? I don’t think so. There is no ease, no order, no work well done until they are restored and set in joint again.
If you find yourself in this season with me, my encouragement to you is to acknowledge together honestly the season that you are in and as a couple fight for a thriving marriage and not just a surviving marriage. Don’t just wait for this season to pass and hope that your marriage will survive being on marital life support to make it to the other side. Intentionally work on it. Fight for it. Sacrifice for it. A happy marriage is not the ultimate thing in this life, but it is a beautiful grace-gift from God that is to our benefit and His glory to fight for.