Marriage Realities

So we’re still talking marriage.  I wrote a little yesterday about our love languages and how we may just be missing the boat on communicating love to our spouse.  What if he was saying I love you in Greek and you were saying I love you in Italian and neither one of you understood what the other was saying and had no idea that you still loved each other?  Sometimes, that is what is happening in our marriages.  Isn’t it sad that we may each be trying to say I love you and it’s just not being understood?  And how frustrating!

But another thing that is going on in our marriages, oftentimes, is an expectation that our marriage will be perfect.  Or that at least that that there won’t be fighting.  Or that fighting is a reflection of a weak marriage.  So then one big fight and you start feeling doomed. 

One last thing that’s plaguing a lot of our marriages is comparison shopping.  Have you heard this?  Or said this?  My husband plays video games and hers doesn’t, she’s so lucky.  My husband travels all the time for work and hers is home, she’s so lucky.  My husband sits on the couch and doesn’t fix stuff at the house and hers is handy, she’s so lucky.  And on and on and on.  To devastating effect. 

I’m reading a book on marriage, or I should say finishing a book on marriage I started years ago.  Don’t you love that you get pulled along for the ride whenever I’m reading a new book?  It’s called Surrendering to Marriage and the author breaks marriage up into three segments:  The Malaise, The Choice, and The Surrendering.  I’ve not finished it yet, but there’s so much good real stuff in it.  On fighting, she says, “I still don’t like it but it is what it is, and to expect two opposite personalities, of different genders, to live without clashes in one house forever is ludicrous.”  Ludicrous!  Did you catch that?  If you are never having fights, then you may actually be in more trouble than those of us fighting because there may not be any communicating going on! 

I love this foundational nugget that she shares on comparison shopping, among other things, and that she readily acknowledges is not all romance and flowers but is truth:

My fantasy of marriage as the wellspring of contentment has completely disappeared, and so should yours.  Thinking you get happiness ever after is a ticket to divorce.  I’ll tell you the four things I now know about marriage, from my own transforming relationship and from conversations with other flummoxed spouses:  A. Marriage can be hell; B. The grass is not greener on the other side; C. Savor the highs, because one thing you can count on – the dips are just around the corner; D. Nobody is perfect, so you may as well love the one you’re with…..Therefore, I surrender to this imperfect marriage, because I love it more than I hate it and I committed to this man with a promise that I need to, we all need to, do the best to fulfill.

Wow!  As you know, I’m a girl who loves her romance.  But I also love me some straight-talking.  It doesn’t get more straight-talking than this.  Look, marriage is hard.  If you went in thinking it would be all champagne and moonlight, then disabuse yourself of that notion.  There will be fights and dirty diapers and funerals and lost jobs and financial struggles and weight gain and moves and everything else.  There will also be such goodness and happiness and joy and fulfillment, but that isn’t all.  And if you hit a snag, it’s not the end.  It’s a snag.  I know we live in a culture of ME and a culture of immediacy, but marriage is not about ME or immediacy.  It’s about the unit and the long term. 

I don’t know where you are in your marriage today, but I wrote a year ago, and mean it more today, I won’t give up.  Do not give up.  The grass is not greener.  Nobody is perfect (including you, and me).   As I read in this book, and as I have experienced firsthand, “I have found that if I wait the squalls of marriage out, they always pass, and a softer wind blows through that makes me feel as if I’m the luckiest woman alive, to be with a partner who is fiercely devoted to me and our kids.”

Comments

  1. Speaking as one who has been married(yes, to the same man) for 37 years, I commend you. Well said. Commitment means that you may not always “like” your spouse and definitely may not always agree. Just think of how boring my life would be if I had married someone just like me! There have been good years and bad years and being committed is how a marriage endures. Also prayer, not to change one’s spouse, but to change your own heart and attitude toward them. I found when I prayed for him instead of for me, God changed me. The greatest changes in both of us have come by speaking to God about it when reaching and impass ( not to everyone elso first). A committed marriage between believers is a powerful force on this earth and we should expect difficulties if we are doing our part for Christ’s kingdom. It is predictable for the enemy to attack where most threatened, right?
    In reponse to another point, I would like to share this example: I once spoke with a friend, whose marriage I had secretly admired, and she told me she and her husband had never argued about anything(yes, she did say never). I thought then, how is that possible? 2 years after this conversation, they were divorced.
    Also, surround yourself with others in committed relationships who will point you to the Lord when times are rough instead of feeding your discontent. Some friends may be well meaning, but base advice on the world’s view and not God’s. If you must seek out help, be sure they are those who are committed to God and consider marriage a covenant relationship. .

    • Linda – I love that you commented, and I love hearing what you have found after 37 years! I think it’s so great to see the united committed marriage between believers as a powerful force for Christ on Earth – what encouragement. Thank you for all this!

  2. Amen. God’s been teaching me about embracing imperfection lately, and this goes along with so much of what I’m learning. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yes! I DO love getting pulled along on what ever book adventure you’re on!!! I always have too many books going at one time anyway, so this is like reading another one, but not having to feel guilty about it! : )

    There are so many truths in this post. I especially love the idea of a softer wind passing through after a squall. Write on…loving these posts! : )

  4. I heard something a few months ago about comparing our lives/marriages…some people are always thinking, “the grass is always greener” and the article said, “yes..the grass may be greener…do you know why? Because they water it” . The author suggests we should be “watering our own grass”, meaning to nuture our own relationships , instead of worrying about the neighbors:)

  5. I love how real this post is…thank you for telling it like is and being up front. Speaking as a wife married to her complete opposite (seriously…we are opposite and both extreme on the Meyers Briggs…it’s actually quite funny) I can attest that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Though we know there will always be challenges and fights, we vow to hang on. And it’s good. Loved this…thank you, Gindi. Blessings! :)

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