I recently read a blog from a young, well-intentioned newlywed (ten months married) regarding why marriage isn’t hard. She listed a number of reasons to support her theory, but somehow it didn’t sit right with me.
It felt like a slap in the face to those who have endured hardships in their marriage. Since marriage is the nucleus of the family unit, it bears much of the weight of life’s hefty problems. God has high expectations for both the husband and the wife that he outlines in Scripture. We live in a sinful, fallen world and bad things happen.
1 Corinthians 7:28 states, “those who marry will face many troubles in this life.” After fourteen years of marriage, my wonderful, gracious, Godly husband, John, and I have endured our share of hardships. I won’t pretend to have all the answers, nor is my experience all-inclusive. Every marriage is unique and will face some level of difficulty.
Because Marriage is Hard. Even for Christians.
Marriage is hard because we are unifying two unique, diverse individuals with distinct backgrounds and upbringings. But it is not impossible. God has outlined the proper way to handle this: Ephesians 5, verses 21-33 is our guideline on how to make this happen. God is not surprised by the delicate nature that melding two lives into one is. So he gave us instructions: Submit to one another, wives submit to your husbands and respect him as the head of your home, and husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church. Leaving each other’s own parents and bonding with your spouse.
As we obediently yield ourselves to God and begin to follow his design for marital unity, we will find harmony. This journey isn’t without rough patches and struggles, but we can’t abandon the route because of a few potholes.
Marriage is also hard because bad things happen! We live in a world where tragedy strikes people you know every day. It can shake the core of your home. Aside from the tragedies, there are also the changes (even happy ones) that come as we grow and age. Life happens. In our marriage we have faced (and endured) two major moves across state lines, job losses, infertility, financial strain, car accidents, vehicle breakdown, unexpected expenses, struggles in ministry, thirteen foster placements, two adoptions, three unexpected and miraculous pregnancies, a miscarriage, the purchase of a fixer-upper, and countless day-to-day demands. As we focus our attention on God, we stand on his Word for our marriage: John 16:33 states, “I have told you these things so you will have peace. In this world you will have troubles, but take heart! I have overcome the world!”
My husband and I love each other, and that newlywed, googly-eyed fairytale love ebbs and flows. It’s not all storybook, but we make a decision to dig in our heels and endure whatever this life swings our way. We are on the same team, we are fighting the same fight. We are striving for the same goal: a lifetime together.
Marriage is hard. But it’s not impossible. I encourage each of you today to remember that when your marriage is strained God has already overcome whatever you’re facing! He’s on your team too!
God, you are so faithful to us; never leaving us, even when things are rough. As my friends read this blog, perhaps their marriage has tension today, I pray that they remember that you are in this with them. Encourage them to rekindle their love for their spouse and their love for you!