When you read this, it will be the Friday after Christmas when children are home from school and some families are still on the road. Many are braving the mall to take back what doesn’t fit or to empty gift cards when prices are at year-end lows. Surfing the internet isn’t the highest priority, even among the most devoted enthusiasts.
A perfect time for personal confession, yes?
Ok…deep breaths…here goes…
My marriage isn’t perfect and I envy those that seem to be.
What? You say there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage?? But it sure looks like it on the internet…
- Instagram shots of hand-holding couples looking happy – no, downright blissful.
- Facebook updates dripping with praise about how thoughtful/generous/funny one spouse is to another (on the day yours forgot your anniversary).
- Blog posts extolling the virtue of a wife or the victories of a husband.
- Husbands and wives who tweet love notes to one another, who sound so gloriously happy.
Or maybe in your real world, you see marital perfection at church on Sunday morning or at work on Monday morning or in your head every morning.
From observing one tiny piece of a puzzle, you make flawed comparisons upon which you draw faulty conclusions, and the image you construct isn’t just imperfect, it’s dangerous.
It’s hurting your marriage.
It hurts mine.
Comparing our marriages to anyone else’s is wrong.
If things are going well for you, it’s risky because it can foster a sense of superiority or complacency; pride is a threat to your relationship (dare I remind you what it precedes?). If things aren’t going well, it’s risky because it can create unreasonable expectations or justify or excuse sin, all potentially damaging.
Marriage is wonderful for so many reasons but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy (I wonder why it has to be so hard sometimes). I’m thankful for seasons filled with roses and sunshine, but over 26 years our marriage has weathered storms and negotiated thorny valleys. Among many important lessons, I’ve learned this this powerful truth:
Love isn’t a feeling and it isn’t in a falling; it’s in the staying during Winter’s darkest days.
Lovies, if you’re in a season when all feels hopeless, please don’t give in to it. Hang in there. Persevere. Get through it. When change seems impossible, pray for the eyes to see what God is accomplishing in you during this time.
Love isn’t about your feelings; love is your decision to honor a commitment, a covenant…a King.
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad…and sometimes it’s downright ugly.
As you consider New Year’s resolutions…
as you sift though a lot of words to find your One Word…
as you continue to count 1000 gifts or list your goals for 2014…
will you plan to invest in the single most important relationship you have on this earth?
Are you willing to invest in the single most important relationship you have on this earth?
(Before anyone wants to take me to task, I’m writing this for a ministry site to women, assuming your priority relationship is with Christ.)
Five suggestions to help you get started:
1. Plan an overnight getaway without your children. Do whatever you can to make this happen, and while you’re away, be fully present with one another. If you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary or if it’s been a long while (or never), splurge for an extra nice place. Resist thinking “we can’t afford it.” It might well be the best investment you make all year.
2. Practice what 1 Corinthians 13 and Philippians 2:1-4 preach. Be intentional about incorporating these actions into your everyday love expressions. Speak love with words, yes, but also with what you do and how you respond.
3. While you finally realize you can’t change him, remember you can change yourself. We want our husbands to be mind readers and, intuitively, to understand what we need and want. When reality doesn’t meet expectation, it’s easy for frustration, disappointment or even bitterness to take root. Rather than focus on what he’s not doing, evaluate what you can. Become a student of him; try to speak love in a way you typically don’t. Surprise him. You might just surprise yourself.
4. Take it offline. Don’t tell him how great he is in a Facebook status or brag on him on Twitter; email or text him directly. Better yet, slip a love note in his wallet, on his car seat, or in red lipstick on the bathroom mirror.
5. Invite him to discuss this post, to be honest with you. Ask him to share his thoughts and ideas for investing in your relationship; if you’re committed “for better or worse” how can you tip the scale more often toward the better side?
It’s the little things that can undermine your relationship and erode affection. Begin the new year pursuing a better marriage.
Share your thoughts?
p.s. I almost forgot–since my last post was published, my blog was redesigned! Your visit will help me celebrate what has been a looonng time in the coming!!Leave a Comment