I was cleaning my kitchen counter the other day and brushed past a framed snapshot taken on my wedding day. Someone caught that moment we were driving away waving to all our wedding guests.
I stared at the photo taken 22 years ago. I laughed at how big my hair was. I sighed at how much smaller my waist was. And I wished I could pull that young bride aside and give her some advice and perspective that would certainly have benefitted me.
I would have whispered…
“Sweetheart, there is only one day where marriage naturally looks like the storybooks. It’s this day. This day, your wedding day, is where every hour has been arranged and planned to be beautiful and special. And as you wave goodbye to this one day, realize what happens from here is all about choices.
Choose to understand that love isn’t always a feeling. Many days love will be a choice. It’s a choice to press through and learn to enjoy the fragile blend of both the bliss and disappointments of two people learning to become a family.
Being married is amazing. Being married is incredibly difficult. Being married can seem impossibly hard. Being married can seem incredibly beautiful. There is no other person who can frustrate me the way my husband can. There is no other person who can make me feel as loved as my husband can.
Yes, marriage is a fragile blend of all this and more.
Remember to keep little things little through the power of prayer, humility, and the discernment to know how and when to address them. Watch these kinds of disillusioning thoughts and capture them before they take root:
He didn’t load the dishwasher even after I asked him to. He doesn’t listen to me.
He just handed me a brochure about the new gym opening down the street. I’m never good enough for him.
He took a phone call while we’re on date night. He doesn’t love me enough to give me his full attention.
Yes, the unraveling places of relationships often occur in these kinds of spots with these kinds of thoughts where little discouragements grow into big wedges of discontentment.
And most of all, remember to pray your marriage through. Don’t fall into the trap of just thinking about your differences, discussing your issues, complaining about your challenges, and attempting to fix these things on your own.
Thinking, talking, complaining and working on those things is not at all the same as praying for them.”
And then I would end this sermonette to my young bride self with the best advice of all, “Remember, the more you do battle for your marriage on your knees, the less you will fight in the flesh.”
And as I finished imagining this conversation I would have so loved to have, I felt challenged that even 22 years later, I needed a fresh dose of applying my own advice.
That’s why I put together this free, 5-day marriage challenge. We need to set aside time to pray boldly over our marriages and proclaim God’s Truth over our spouses.
Whether you’ve been married 3 minutes or over 3 decades, I’d love for you to join me as we determine to not just pray “about” our marriages but to truly pray our marriages to a new place.
I can’t wait to walk through these next 5 days with you.