We've spent thirteen years holding each others sweaty hands. I had that actual thought in church the other day. Actually, my first thought was, "Aw, he's holding my hand." Followed by, "Ugh, he has sweaty hands." Followed by, "Or maybe it's my hand that's sweaty?" And lastly, "Aw...gross."
You'll be glad to know that I didn't let go. Sweaty hands or not, I like the guy.
I'd love to pretend we have the perfect marriage. To put on the shenanigan that we have mastered this thang. To act as if I am the Proverbs 31 woman and that he is the picture of Christ in our marriage. The truth is, it ain't so. We have moments of awesomeness. Days even. Dare I say weeks? That'd be stretching it.
Reality is that we are in the same boat as everyone else. Our marriage has days that we can't plug the holes fast enough and I want to pull a Titanic scene and shove him off my floating door of a life raft. Some days we are row-row-rowing our boat living but a dream.
It's comforting to know, right? It comforts me when I know I'm not alone. To realize even those "perfect" marriages flat out suck at times.
The marriage class we're almost done with has brought us to a new place(in case you missed it: What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp). We've had more, better growth in the last six weeks than ever before. Something clicked in both of us. The CLICK is realizing we just can't do it. We can't be the Proverbs 31 wife and love-your-wife-as-Christ-loved-the-church husband. We are sinfully unable and will never reach the point of truly dying to self this side of eternity. What a thought! Marriage is a war that will never end! How depressing! And EXCITING! As long as we remain human beings, we will remain flawed.
There is nothing we can do. Outside of Christ. OUTSIDE OF CHRIST. Let that sink in.
Marriage is a test. A huge, hard, sometimes easy, sometimes impossible test. There are no simple answers or cheat sheets. It's not enough to keep writing each other love notes and make sure you go out for uninterrupted dinners once a month. The issues are always deeper. We are selfish people who think we're right 100% of the time. Honestly, I wonder how ANY marriages make it. Like those pictures that float around on Facebook with ancient couples being quoted as saying, "In 75 years of marriage we've never had a fight."
Right. They're either ate up with Alzheimer's or liars. Possibly both.
^^^photo by Simon.
these two photos by First Glance Photography
I really went off on a tangent there. This was supposed to be a lovey dovey post about what I've learned in thirteen years of marriage. I guess that tangent was it.
Marriage isn't at all what anyone thinks it is. Love isn't enough. Not our flawed, human love anyway. You can't have love without truth. And the truth is, humans can be a-holes. Not me, but Sean...whew! ;) I think every young couple assumes they'll be the happily ever after. They won't succumb to life's pressures. They think they'll love each other in the same way they've loved each other throughout their dating relationship. Money won't change them. Kids certainly won't change them. Hardships may come but as long as they have love, it's enough.
I think I was probably naive like that. We were 18 and 21, what the heck did we know?
What we know now is this: marriage is a means to an end. It's the biggest relationship in our lives that God uses to sanctify us. That one realization has changed everything.
We make a good team, Sean and I. We fight, but not dirty. We dig our heels in on things that truly, truly matter. Sometimes we dig our heels in on things that don't truly matter, but we're learning and adjusting. We're listening more and talking less. He still does things that annoy the crap out of me and I'm almost positive he would say the same about me. Although, I am pretty perfect... Sometimes he clenches his jaw when he wants to, "Yeah, but..." me. Sometimes I day dream when he starts talking about anesthesia. I've been known to butt in on his parenting and he's called me out in front of the kids a few times too many.
He cracks me up and I crack myself up trying to crack him up. I never feel so funny as when I make him laugh.
He's growing me. He isn't bashful about correcting me when I'm wrong. He cares more about heart issues than outside issues. The other day I recounted the girl version of a story and he totally called me out. "Why do you entertain gossip like that?"
Busted. "It's not gossip. I don't even know the person." I rebutted a bit ego-bruised.
"Are you any better for having heard that story? I'm certainly not."-Mean, just mean.
Unfortunately, he was right. He does that to me a lot when I try to justify sin.
We still have a lot to learn, but I'm so excited to see what is to come. I'm so glad God connected the dots and picked all the paths that we never could've picked on our own that led us to each other. I couldn't have written our story any better.