The Joyful Work of Marriage

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So once upon a time, I fell in love with my prince.  We were married and moved into our cozy little apartment and began our lives together.  Funny thing is, I thought that the hard part was over.  I had found the one who God intended for me to be with for the rest of our lives.  All that was left to do was to live happily ever after.  Being so much immersed in that honeymoon stage of our marriage, I had no idea that a marriage took work.  My parents made it look so easy, so why wouldn’t it be the same for us?  Now, don’t get the wrong idea, we didn’t have any monumental fights or walk out on each other, but little disagreements surprised me.  For example, since I was home the summer before I started graduate school and my new husband was already in graduate school every day, I thought I was doing him a favor by collecting, opening aweddingnd sorting the mail each day.  Then one day, he came home and said that he wanted to open the mail too!  I didn’t realize that I was taking away something that he wanted to do.  He had been living on his own and was used to that task, and he was a little offended that I took it away from him.  Humorously enough, he remembers the opposite –  that I was upset that he opened the mail first…

I was confused as to why things weren’t really easy for us.  Another example is that growing up in a home with a mom who stayed home to care for her family, I saw my mother doing all the housework.  In a likewise fashion, I took those household tasks upon myself.   And I felt like my sweet husband was implying that I wasn’t doing my job when he cleared the table or helped with laundry!  Ha!  Now, I am more than happy to let him help out with any chores he feels inclined to do, but then I didn’t realize that he was helping out of love for me!

I finally realized that a marriage took work – daily acts of selflessness, many prayers for my spouse, and much thankfulness.   Now nearly 16 years and 3 children later, those acts have become more routine on a daily basis and as a result our “happily ever after” has definitely gotten easier.  But we still work to make each other a priority and not let ourselves get lost in the role of parents when we are first and foremost husband and wife.

I have two beautiful pieces of advice from my parents who have been married over 40 years now. Image (8)

First, my mother always told me growing up that you have to put your spouse’s happiness before your own.   And when your spouse does the same for you, the result is a happy marriage.

This is the selflessness that Christ called us to – serving others.  And what better, more wonderful person to serve than your spouse.   With both of you serving one another in Christ, your marriage is blessed.

My second piece of advice was from my father.  As he was driving me to the church on my wedding day, he said that it may be hard to believe, but that I will love my spouse even more in 20 or 30 years, than on my wedding day.

Believing in that promise and putting my beloved husband’s needs ahead of my own, have created a beautiful and blessed marriage between us.

But he still occasionally asks about the mail and I still occasionally leave the stack of mail out for him to go through!

I pray that all of your own marriages may be richly blessed!

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