When I walked down the aisle, twenty-one and flushed with excitement, I believed the road ahead was paved with the easiness of our new love. I was smitten and caught up in the joy of a forever life together. Goodbye, weekends alone and frozen meals. Goodbye dating and goodbye table for one. For me, marriage was not so much a new beginning as it was a ticker-tape parade on top of a mountain while wearing a dazzling, white dress. It was the pinnacle of our relationship and a culmination of hopes and dreams that existed outside the harsh reality of rising divorce and unmet expectations.
Our first year was a harsh, eye-opening introduction to marriage.
Arguments over the best (and only) temperature to set the thermostat in the throbbing heat of summer left me deflated in spirit. The tedious work of combining finances and managing schedules set both of our teeth on edge. My sweet, naive self had drawn from the deepest well of romance movies to navigate our relationship in those early days and I was left feeling disappointed and hollow. Hello, frustration and snarky bickering. Hello, loneliness and hello bitterness.
Our easy-breezy dating relationship came face-to-face with the Biblical reality of cleaving to one another in marriage and it was shocking.
To make our twenty-year story short, our commitment to each other helped us traverse that fragile (and sometimes tense) first year. But our commitment to the Lord, the Author of our lives, is what has helped us navigate the past nineteen years. What we’ve learned and continue to acknowledge is that this married life, this adventure in family and love, is nothing short of a miracle. We are two different people who respond differently to joy and stress, blessings and failures yet we persevere. We trip and we fall yet we thrive! Quiet ebbs of sadness have been overcome with rushing flows of joy, and through it all, God remains unwavering in His commitment to meet us right where we are. He has woven grace and humility into the fabric of our marriage and encourages us daily to dig deep, have faith and keep fighting.
If you are in a place where it just feels too hard there is no better time to pray for your marriage. Right now, right where you are, God’s word is waiting to infuse your relationship with hope. It is nectar that soothes a wounded heart and delivers relief to a chafed soul. I pray these five verses strengthen and encourage you as you pray over your marriage:
- By wisdom, a house is built, and through understanding, it is established; through knowledge, its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4
- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
- May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:3-5
Fight on fighter,