So I’m not an authority on marriage however after 17 years I feel I have a few words to offer. One word however comes to mind more than others.
Gods most perfect grace gets the gold medal for any beauty in our marriage and yet even though His grace abounds we both still have a responsibility. I take no ownership for the good and beautiful things in our marriage but I DO take responsibility for my part and so does Kevin.
Vows mean something.
They aren’t haphazard words we throw around – they are declarations of truth. They aren’t suggestions – they are covenants.
When we say for better or worse to be honest folks the “for better part” is cake – that’s easy. It’s easy to love your spouse well when the stars are aligned, a paycheck is coming in, when your goals are on the same page, when everyone is healthy, when in-laws are getting along, when we are young, beautiful and getting sleep. It’s easy to say “for better” when life isn’t throwing you curveballs of uncertainty:
But the “for worse” part – that phrase – that kind of real love and honoring and cherishing kind of love shows itself to be true in illness, in grief, in loss, in despair.
It shows up when your past haunts you.
It shows up when you feel like you can’t measure up.
It shows up when you realize you are different.
It shows up when you choose love in the unexpected, uncomfortable scenes of life.
Love and honor and cherish shows up when you need something and the other person can’t meet it because they were never meant to.
Real love …the kind of love modeled from the Father is the kind of love that shows up in these places.
Real love waits.
Real love is patient.
Real love doesn’t take.
Real love covers.
Real love takes responsibility.
Real love forgives.
Real love isn’t selfish.
Real love – the kind we say in our vows reflect the kind of love that Jesus shows by laying His life down.
It’s a you first kind of love…but both people have to do this – not just one.
Both people have a part in this symphony – so in our 17 years – My part matters and Kevins part matters and Gods grace fills in the many, many gaps of our humanity. We have this beautiful partnership with the Lord that renders us accountable for both the good and bad.
We cannot expect a good return when we haven’t made the investment.
So Wives, lovely wives – respect your husband.
Cover your marriage.
Know his space and limits and don’t shout it from the rooftops when you find a flaw or are unhappy about something. Women need to learn to quiet themselves and temper their words – there is a time to speak and a time to be silent and some words should never come out. Stop making your husband responsible for every unmet need in your life since you were 5. He can’t hold that weight, wasn’t meant to bear it and humanly cannot do so. He will fail because it isn’t his load to carry. God is meant to fill the broken wells and voids of our hearts not our husbands – don’t make Him responsible for a burden he was not meant to bear. Girls can we stop complaining about small things but DO notice the amazing things he is doing like providing, being present, loving your kids? Things like he doesn’t take out the trash or doesn’t tell me I’m beautiful 50 times a day aren’t deal breakers.
Pick your battles.
If he is abusive and cheating then get out, get help, RUN – but the other stuff, the small stuff – don’t hyper focus on it – he’s not perfect and neither are you. If you stare at something imperfect long enough it will bother you – stare at the good stuff – its in there. Gods grace thrives in imperfection if we let it – Remember love covers a multitude of imperfections.
Men – love your wives. Love her by letting her know you hear her, you see her, you know her – not just know about her but really know her. Listen to her. Protect her. Cover her. Encourage her. Allow her to flourish and be who she is called to be. Flirt with her. Be real with her. Fight for her. Communicate with her. Make her feel beautiful. But super important don’t stop making her your girlfriend just because you’re married – don’t stop dating her, don’t stop pursuing her heart – women are complex creatures (in case you haven’t noticed) discover new spaces in her heart – win her over – over and over just like you did when she wasn’t yours yet.
Love pursues. It doesn’t give up. A love that is rooted in the author of love won’t fail –
Love is a choice.
So choose it.
Choose each other…over and over again.
Every relationship looks different but the roadmap to loving and honoring and cherishing comes from the one who IS all of those things. Both people have to want to love like that because they have both experienced THAT love. Knowing Jesus – experiencing Him, being loved and forgiven by Him – completely – paves the way…but it is still a choice on both participants.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails –
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
So be patient with one another, give grace to one another, say ‘you first’, humble yourself, admit when you are wrong, forgive like breathing, point one another to Jesus, encourage one another, fight for one another, you’re on the same team.
Fight for it. Its worth it.