Truth Be Told - An Honest Discussion on Marriage
The movies always portray it as fun, happy, and blissful. I've seen where it was roses and sunshine and hearts all around it. Songs portray fiery love, constant sex, and the thrill of the chase. Blogs tell of the moments of cooking together, step-by-step romance, and the like. But truth be told, I wish the truth is told.
I'm talking about marriage; the good, the bad, and the really bad but then really good.
You get married and the expectations are that there will be sunny skies and clear nights. That's true until there are the tough talks, the long discussions, the arguing, the not speaking, not touching, crying and then making back up. You start to try to get into a rhythm with one another and find that work, friendships, obligations, etc., begin to creep their way into this balancing act that you're trying to perfect. The good moments often outweigh that bad until the bad begin to play with your mind. You go through seasons where you wonder "Am I even doing this right?" You begin to fight, not over misunderstandings, but over not feeling connected. You argue over how busy your schedules are. You begin to watch closely at how satan tries to flex his way into your union with subtle things; a slick comment here, a late return from the office, whispers of insecurities, and so much more. You fear that you aren't a great husband like the next guy or a great wife like the next girl. The dinner menu and whose turn is it to do the laundry become common conversations that tend to bring up deeper concerns. You start realizing that you hold your home together with duck tape and glue. These are the things that the movies and love songs don't tell you.
Everyday that you make it is a celebration. Everyday that you make it is a victory especially considering all that may be stacked up against you. Everyday you make it is a day you've made it for better or worst. And the commitment made is, no matter what, "if I gotta cry, to get to the other side. Let's go because we will survive".
Now, before I go on, Simone and I are fine. No really we are but I wanna keep it 100 for you. We have had our moments. We have been on the frontline sometimes not standing together facing an enemy but staring at each other as enemies. Things have exploded and we have had to walk amongst the ruins but we have done so holding hands. They don't teach you how to do that in the movies.
Can I just be honest for a second in this blog? Can we all just be honest? Some days our spouses are our Queens and Kings. We trust them with everything. We lead, they follow. They lead, we follow. We quarterback the game and they defend. They are our greatest champions and cheerleaders. This is when it's really awesome. You know the days that everything is just clicking; the laughter, the deep conversations, the intentional bonding, ...the sex. Yes Lord! Most days, as you grow closer together, things just fit, things just work, things are just great. And then things go left. They go left out of nowhere and you have no idea how.
I've never seen a great marriage up close. And often times, I feel like I am flying blind in leading my family. What does a successful marriage look like? Is it when everyone is happy? Should it be happiness and sunshine? Why is it that sometimes we deal with dark clouds and storms? How is it that these things don't pop up on the radar? They weren't forecasted, but they're here. You can stand out in it and get struck or you can begin to build protection and seek shelter.
I think successful marriages begin with being in partnership with each other. Being 100% whole for each other but even when you're not whole or not strong, the other can be your supplement to your deficiency. This is shelter. This is covering in the storms. You can choose to fight for yourself or for your partnership. You'll always lose fighting for yourself. Sometimes you'll just have to throw up a white flag and surrender and sit and discuss and fill in the chasm, the void, with love and vulnerability. This is much easier to do when God is at the center of your marriage. But it's still hard. And you still have to choose to do the hard things.
Over the last 9 months, Simone and I, having learned a ton in our first year of marriage, have built up some protections, some boundaries, some "this is what we are and this is what we are nots". We protect our time. This is usually the thing that brought so much strife to our home. Being in ministry often seems to take you away from your family. It shouldn't. Sure there are busy seasons but your marriage comes first. God has placed us in a ministry where our lead pastor values the family...he values my family. And so, we protect our time. We make sure that we are balanced - duties are equal, I do this and she does that. Honestly, we're still learning how to argue...we're still new at it. Arguing will happen in a marriage, its how you argue that's key. We have vision and goals. We have a family calendar (which most people laugh at but it works for us). And we value being open and honest with each other. We value the individual growth of each other and spiritual growth together. These lessons have come out of dark storms and deep bruises but we have learned and are still learning.
Truth be told, marriage is equally love and war. When we say "I do" at the altar, we are committing to occupying each others space, heart, and soul until we die. Occupation comes with challenges but by committing to it through the hard times, you'll make it to the other side. You may be damaged and bruised, but you will make it to the other side.
Are you willing to be honest? What areas in your marriage are most difficult? How have you overcome them?