For Better or For Worse

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Yesterday was Valentines Day. It’s a day we celebrate love. It’s day when social media is filled with lovey, mushy couples expressing their undying love for each other. We see pictures of engagement rings, anniversary rings, flowers and other extravagant gifts. We also see pictures of happy couples at expensive restaurants eating meals that cost more than some of their bills. Honestly, one of my  posts was exactly the same. I created a photo montage of me and my incredibly good looking husband together and then shared several of the reasons why I love him.

On some levels this is really isn’t all that bad. It’s nice to see couples who are actually happy to be with each other. It’s fun seeing young couples enter into engagements. It’s fun to see older couples still madly in love after 30 plus years of marriage. It is also a nice change to see happy posts on social media rather than the hateful, political and divisive posts that have become so prevalent over the past several months.

Truth be told I am still madly in love with my husband after almost 12 years of marriage. Can I be honest? Marriage is the easiest most difficult thing there is. There are days when you are cute and mushy. You call each other by pet names. You surprise the other person with something small you know they love. You stand side by side, holding hands in church worshiping together. There are times when you get into a car and before you know it you have driven 4 plus hours, but it feels like you have only been in the car a few minutes. In those intimate moments you feel like you are the most special person on the face of the earth. You know your spouse chose you and loves you more than anything. There are those moments when you and your spouse have all 3 kids together and it feels like scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting and you don’t think life could get any more perfect.

Then there are those days when marriage is hard. It’s not that you don’t like each other, but life happens. The car breaks down. The kids get sick. An unexpected bill pops up and wipes out the savings account. There are issues with the in laws. Schedules get so busy you don’t know whether you are going or coming and you may see your spouse before you leave in the morning and then again when you collapse into bed that night. You look around the house and wonder when the bomb went off to leave it in such a sad state.

Marriage is a combination of all of this. Marriage is fun. Marriage is hard. There are days when you absolutely love each other. There are days when you are surprised you are still together. Marriage is celebrations of the big moments in life. Marriage is having the hard conversations and facing the hard moments. Marriage is dealing with work issues. Marriage is celebrating promotions. Marriage is getting creative to make ends meet while waiting for money to come in. Marriage is standing side by side while watching your children live out their dreams. Marriage is standing side by side at the casket of someone you love. Marriage is bringing home chocolate covered cashews or cannoli. Marriage is sacrificing your time to make sure your spouse and/ or your kids are taken care of.

Marriage is this beautiful kaleidoscope of all of life’s moments. As the wife of an entertainer I can tell you we have walked some incredible mountain tops and then waded through some of the deepest valleys. We live life in feast or famine. We put away during times of feast to survive the times of famine. We walked the road of miscarriage and infertility. When we were finally blessed with a full term pregnancy, we still walked through some scary and fearful moments. Marriage is being willing to allow the Lord lead you through the highs and lows of life and staying committed no matter the issue.

In June my husband and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary. The thing I love most about our wedding was that we have a covenant marriage. We didn’t say the traditional vows. My husband vowed to be the spiritual head of our house. I vowed to submit to his authority. Before anyone flips out I am not a doormat, but there are times when I have to step back and let him make the final decisions. I can tell you he leads well. He works hard for his family. He takes the commands given in scripture about how a man should treat/ provide for his wife and children seriously. It will would kill him to think he hasn’t lived up to what the Lord has called him to do. He makes it easy for me to love him. He makes it easy for me to want to serve him. I am grateful my kids have his example to follow. He has set the bar high for my daughter in terms of what she should expect in a husband. He also set the bar high for my boys in how they should treat their future wives.

I asked my husband what stands out to him about our marriage. His response; “Our ability to have fun.” To those of you who know me may not really believe that about me, but my goofy hubby brings out that side of me. We laugh at each other and laugh with each other. He jokes that if he ever went into stand up comedy as a career, I would be the source of many of his jokes. I give him plenty of material. When life gets too serious, he does what he can to make me laugh. We have numerous inside jokes and quote lines from Friends probably far more than we should, but it makes us, us.

My husband definitely loves me and our kids through the good times and bad. For example yesterday was rainy and crazy busy. I ran to put gas in my van and because it was pushing almost 3p and I’d not had lunch I ran through a drive through. Unfortunately, the driver’s side window decided it didn’t want to roll back up. When I got home my hubby couldn’t get it back up either. What did he do? He ran out to get plastic to cover the window until he could get to it. In him doing this, it put him behind for a balloon delivery and making it to his regular Tuesday night gig. Why did he do it? Because he loves me and tries to keep my van in working order. After work last night and then this morning he watched several You Tube videos to try and fix my window. When it didn’t work, he took it to the shop. We shuffled some things around, so I could still make it to work on time. I realize in the grand scheme of things the window issue was minor, but it happened at an inconvenient time. He took care of it anyway.

Marriage is all of this and so much more. I pray if you are engaged or newly weds you will take the time to build a strong foundation for your marriage. I highly recommend reading “The 5 Love Languages.” I still credit this study for saving our marriage and helping us make it past our first anniversary. Take the time to get to really know each other and what makes each other tick. Figure out what the little things are in life that make each other happy. Take the time to talk. I mean really talk. Date nights are important. Sometimes the budget may not allow a night out, but dates at home can be just as fun. I also encourage you to take time to worship together and pray together. If you aren’t praying together, you are missing out on an important aspect of your marriage. This allows you to invite the Lord to be a part of your marriage and He should be the foundation upon which everything else it built.

If you are struggling in your marriage, find a couple you trust or seek out a therapist. Take the time to figure out what the underlying issues are and work to address them. Make sure you are getting in your dates and getting your time together. Marriage can be extremely difficult, but you have to be committed to make it work. Again, if the issues are too large please seek out a therapist.

I pray that where ever you may be in your marriage you remember what it was that made you fall in love with your spouse. Thank the Lord for those traits. Pray the Lord would continue to strengthen all areas of your marriage.

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