I met my husband when I was 18. He was the kindest, funniest guy I had ever known and I immediately felt swept off my feet by his affection and love. When we became engaged a year later and then married at the ages of 20 and 21, I had no doubt that he was the man I wanted to spend all my days with, but on more than one occasion, I heard warnings about marrying so young from those around me:
“You will grow apart,” “You don’t even know yourself yet,” and, “Aren’t you worried that marrying so young might mean you will desire to eventually go in different directions one day?“
I scoffed and I blew off most of these words because I trusted Josh with my heart and knew we were a team. I stood in the confidence of how God had led our relationship. Our conversation and time together were saturated by God’s grace and Word and when I walked down the isle, it was with thanksgiving for the man meeting me there at the altar to enter into a beautiful sacrament and marriage covenant with me.
After fifteen years? We love to say we “grew up together” because in so many areas of maturity, this is true! We have experienced extreme sadness and disappointment in our circumstances and in one another, as well as greater joy together than we had ever known apart. We have changed in our appearance and tastes, even in our desires for the future, but somehow by God’s will, we are walking as “Heirs in the Grace of Life” side by side. As life wears thin in patches and the inevitable stress and difficulties come, each of us, makes a choice. And whether you married young or old, your capacity and strength to choose well will define your future.
Will we grow together or will we grow apart? Will we keep building something beautiful, or choose our own way?
Marriage isn’t passive. Marriage might also be the fight of your life.
Perhaps those concerned voices of my past simply knew that even in the face of our youthful vigor, bruised hearts were going to come, and that frightened them. Perhaps they were afraid to say that their own hearts ached from walking through the battle seasons of their lives. Perhaps they were a bit shy to ask:
“In the midst of grief over an empty womb, or in the pain of poverty, or in the warmth of a cozy home and with babes bouncing on your knee when all seems well, will you truly be loyal to this person you have given your vows to? Will you everyday fight through your own selfishness and choose one another? Will you put aside yourself and really give more than you ever thought you had in you to them?
As My husband and I reflected on these years and what has caused us to grow together, I asked him what he thought about those voices and their warnings. What has caused us to have a marriage we both love and treasure? When there was so much change that could have directed us apart, when there was so much pain that could have closed us off from one another, what has kept us hand in hand?
Unquestionably, the grace of God and the power of his Holy Spirit in us have forged something dear and supernatural in Christian marriage, but as we thought about our own actions and responses, two things came to mind:
1. Give One Another Grace. Not just forgiveness, but pray for the type of grace that permeates your very soul and oozes out of your being for one another. The kind of grace that brings freedom and warmth and shapes all your expectations. Forgive quickly, seek the benefit of the doubt. . . trust. Welcome your spouse’s personality in all its color, cherish what they cherish and take time to fill up your home and your relationship with what they love. Take an interest in what stirs their heart and be their greatest advocate. Be kind.
2. Keep Grattitude Close. Let the details of everyday be cause for thanksgiving. Say thank you. Show appreciation. Hug. Drink in the gifts of this life and this love that you have, and if you are struggling to find something to be grateful for together, then go hunting deep into the past if you must and hold on to what you know to be true about the person you have pledged your life to.
May you grow in grace together.
Praying for all our marriages and families today friends,