may 27, 2014 by nama
Sunday Mornings we look pretty good. Tuesday evenings can be a whole different story. For years we have been asked, “How do you make marriage work?”
They don’t ask about happy, just work. Maybe happy is too much to hope for.
For years we have had a reliable repertoire of replies.
“We are committed to fighting.”
“Hmmm” with a shoulder shrug.
“We are both tenacious and stubborn, we just keep going.”
There is this raised eyebrow, every so slight smile thing Tim does when he respects the question but doesn’t have a formulated reply.
Honestly, much of our 33 years together we have just been doing our best, muddling along, seeking, asking, talking, working hard, hoping we are getting enough of “it” right to give us “Good”.
If opposites attract, we are ATTRACTED, like the opposite ends of a magnet.
Tim is a strong introvert, i am an over the top relational extravert. If men have 7,000 words to use in a day,Tim being every budget wise allows himself perhaps 4 to 5 thousand. A woman’s typical 20,000 words probably lands somewhere in the 30,000’s for me.
Tim told me shortly after we were married that one of his concerns before he proposed was that he would get weary of my constant chatter. I recently told Tim (keeping with the current personality evaluation trend) “as an extrovert married to an introvert i have been lonely since we said “I Do”.” A wise 3rd party in the conversation pointed out that Tim probably stopped talking 33 years ago, realizing there was no point in competing with my word count and strength. Tim smiled.
A couple years ago Tim approached me about the possibility of doing a large remodel on our kitchen. I hate disorder, mess, dust and lack of control, in general all things that construction brings to your world (my home in this case). Tim thrives in creativity, the unknown, new, demolition and dust + he really wanted to turn our 1960’s tangerine kitchen into my pinterest board. My reply was this, “You know i will be unkind and bossy and crabby for the entire project.” Tim’s reply, “Yup, I am okay with that.” So we started the project. You will be pleased to hear i was mostly kind. I will show you pictures some day. i am so grateful for the kitchen My Man built.
We are very different, i do not tend to leave a sleeping dog lie. i need to point out, work it through, understand and be understood. Tim may not even notice the sleeping dog, and he would never beat a dead horse. i need more, Tim just needs a little peace and quiet.
We do like each other, we like each other more each and every day. More with each anniversary we add to our tally. The more we work and build and commit to each other the more we respect, and like and love each other. We love each other till death do us part.
But the facebook status’s that say…
“My very best buddy, best friend ever”, or
“No one brings me more joy than you and only you every single moment of our live long life!” don’t always ring true here.
We work hard, what we have involves lots of commitment and forgiving and starting over. Some weeks i connect more easily with a girlfriend (she has more words). Tim finds more calm and refreshment putting up sheetrock with a man friend or throwing a football with his sons somedays. We are not each other’s everything. i don’t think this marriage thing was ever intended to fill each other’s every need.
We choose to love what we have together. We choose to say “I love you” often. We try hard to put the other first especially when it feels like i haven’t been first in, Oh.. let’s say forever.
i have a favorite book that is ragged from page turning. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. The subtitle is: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?
What if ?
Am i still in this deal if being made more like my Saviour is promised but HAPPY is always just a bit elusive? If you wonder why this lifetime commitment isn’t making you happy, please get this book. It is worth your time and money. Read it with an open heart, a soft teachable spirit. It will change everything. Life changer. Marriage mender.
My longtime favorite is getting a nudge from this recent find, This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. You can get a free PDF copy at the teal link.
In his book John Piper explains this passage of scripture:
‘The two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
When a couple speaks their vows, it is not a man or a woman or a pastor or parent who is the main actor—the main doer. God is. God joins a husband and a wife into a one-flesh union. God does that. The world does not know this. Which is one of the reasons why marriage is treated so casually. And Christians often act like they don’t know it, which is one of the reasons marriage in the church is not seen as the wonder it is. Marriage is God’s doing because it is a one-flesh union that God himself performs. ~ John Piper in The Momentary Marriage
Is it any wonder there is endless pain and mess when we chose to rip that one flesh into two?
My passion for God honoring Marriage runs deep. i come from a twice broken home. i wrote endless letters as a little girl to my daddy asking him to love Jesus and come back to our family. In my teens i pleaded with my God to please give me a husband that would love Jesus and build a home that honored Jesus,a man who would teach our children of Christ’s Love. My mom was a God honoring woman, she spent many years raising 6 rowdy children on her own, she did an exceptional job. i still was painfully aware this is not how it was meant to be and i longed to have a whole home someday.
Somewhere into our first year of marriage a bicker over something small sent me down the path of…
“This will not work, we may as well quit now, divorce is where we will end up, why try?” Tim immediately responded with,
“Divorce will never be a part of our story, we may fight, we may dislike each other, we may both be miserable but we will be all those things in this home together. Neither of us will ever say the word divorce again, it is not an option!” The word divorce has never been spoken again. We fight, we annoy the living daylights out of each other, we are lonely and sad some days. We get up and we do another day together because His Holy Word commands us “let no man separate!”
In our Lord’s gracious love, the hard work brings harvest. One of my favorite things to do has become sitting silently with my man over a dinner out. Quietly treasuring what He is building for us. Somedays Tim asks me for more words, he was sad that i have felt lonely.
Nothing of worth comes about without hard work. Why do we so easily give up on the one commitment that promises immeasurable pay out as soon it feels more like work than the latest chick-flick released from Hollywood.
One of our sons and his bride used this song in their wedding. It says it all. Listen, pray and commit to the fight. Love is not a fight.
Happily Ever After
Till Death do us Part