The last seven months have completely flown by. It feels like only a few days ago that I said “I do” to my best friend. In that short time we have both switched careers, I worked with refugees in Greece, we’ve moved, and we’ve started getting more involved with ministry. It has been hectic to say the least. At this point some people are still in the honeymoon stage, and some days we are…but other days we aren’t. We’ve definitely had some big challenges to handle since getting married.
And I have learned so so much in these first seven months. I know by now some of you are rolling your eyes, thinking “talk to me in 5 years…or 30 years”. I’m not completely naive…I know there is so much we haven’t had to deal with and I know there will be times where giving up would be an easy option. However, I know that Phil is the ONE for me…because I chose to marry him and we made that commitment before God. I also know that our marriage has already lasted longer than some people I know, and that truly breaks my heart.
A Christian girl I knew said, after her marriage lasted less than a year, “that she just wasn’t happy”. Other common reasons are that “I was just no longer in love” or “The person I married changed” or “They just weren’t the one”. All of this pains me deeply, because that’s not what marriage is about. I do understand that there are some situations in which separation is necessary, but our culture (even Christian culture) has allowed divorce to become an easy out. Not only that…but our view of love and what marriages is has become so marred and distorted.
We think it should be an easy fairytale…all fun and no hardships. We act like there is only “one” person in the entire world that is right for us. We kid ourselves that love is always about the FEELING and WHAT we will get out of it. But the truth is, loving someone is a choice (even when the feeling isn’t there). A wonderful book I recently read (Love that Lasts) states it so well…
“How do I know my wife is the one? Because I married her. She become “the one” the minute I committed my life to her. I know it’s really unromantic, but Alyssa and I agree that we both could’ve married someone else and probably been totally happy and had a great life.
It’s not about finding the mythical magical unicorn but about finding someone who will be a great partner for life. And frankly, “the one” doesn’t really make sense from a logical standpoint. All it would take is for one guy fifteen hundred years ago to marry the wrong person (not the one for him), and he would create an endless cycle all the way down to you and me, since he married someone else’s “the one” and so on and so on…..
In God’s providence, there is a certain level of weaving and moving and bringing two people together. If you’re not already married, it’s possible God has someone for you who you might not even know yet. So we have to be careful. Alyssa and I have seen people justify divorce because, well, their spouse just wasn’t the one. For Alyssa and me, it was incredibly freeing when we realized that there were plenty of people we could have married, but we chose each other. That’s what matters…
True love is doing the laundry when you usually don’t because your spouse needs a break. True love is choosing to love even when you don’t feel like it. Every single day.True love is saying sorry for the one-millionth time. True love is always searching for ways to serve the other….”
So yes, Phil and I have only been married 7 months. And some days we don’t like each other very much. However, we always choose to love each other. We are learning that it’s okay to not always agree, that couples who’ve been married 30 or 40 years sometimes fight, and that sometimes we will annoy each other. Marriage isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s about having a partner to fight through the tough stuff (even when the ‘tough stuff’ might be each other). It’s about honoring the commitment you made before God. It’s about self-sacrificial love and serving each other and God together.
One of our mentors told us, that the biggest thing we can do for the church is to FIGHT for our marriage. Because Satan wants to destroy the church and us from the inside out. Satan doesn’t want couples putting aside selfish desires and serving each other. What is stronger than an individual serving the kingdom of God? A couple- a team (a family) serving the kingdom of God. God has so much more than “happiness” for us and for others who choose to fight for their marriages.
I’m sorry this post has gotten longer than I originally meant it to, but the last 7 months have made me passionate about my marriage and fighting for marriage. So if you’ve stuck it out so far, I appreciate it. Not only do I care about Phil and my relationship and serving God with our lives (together as a team), but I care about more deeply for the sanctity of marriage in general. I am SOO excited for what God has for us in the upcoming months, as well as the opportunities we will have to grow together and continue serving God through our marriage.
If you are in a dating relationship, engaged, or married, or even just desire to be married some day, I HIGHLY recommend Love that Lasts by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke. It’s an easy and fun read…as well as encouraging, helpful, and challenging!