In your mind you have an idea of what you think marriage will be like. The picture is different for everyone.
Maybe you’ll leave the church in a white limosine or a white horse-drawn carriage. Maybe you’ll say your vows on a sandy beach. Maybe there will be dancing and toasting at your reception. Or maybe you’ll sit down and all have dinner together.
Maybe when you’re carried over the threshold of your first home there are fresh flowers on the table every day. Maybe your husband rubs your feet each night before you go to bed. Maybe you travel all over the world together before the babies come along.
The picture might be different, but the expectation is usually the same – romance, happiness, and peace.
Then two weeks go by and you’re sitting on the edge of the bed in an Extended Stay hotel, where you’re living now since your new husband’s job just got transferred to another state, crying and wondering why the one-bedroom apartment, where you lived alone just a few weeks earlier, was ever so bad.
That was me. The reality of marriage set in quick.
This week my husband and I will celebrate out fourth wedding anniversary. I say fourth, but it really is the fourth going on the twenty-fifth. In four years time we have experienced a lifetime of marriage together, and we know we still have many more lifetimes ahead of us.
Yes, our story is unique in many ways. But the principle is the same for everyone -
Marriage starts with a distorted reality, but it grows into its true intention – to make a path to eternity. (<-Tweet This!)
A snapshot of the past four years:
- January 2008 – We get engaged.
- March 2008 – John’s job transfers to Chicago. (We were born, raised, and still live in the deep south – Georgia.)
- April 2008 – John resigns and starts looking for a job closer in Georgia (or in the south).
- May 2008 – John gets a job in North Carolina and starts working there.
- June 2008 – We get married.
- July 2008 – We buy a house and move to North Carolina.
- August 2008 – I start a new job in North Carolina.
- October 2008 – We sell John’s house in Georgia.
Then there was some peace.
- August 2009 – John gets sicker as he battles Cardiomyopathy.
- January 2010 – We’re told John will have to have a heart transplant.
- May 2010 – John goes into the hospital for one week and comes home on an IV drip.
- June 2010 – John is listed on the heart transplant waiting list.
- July 2010 – John gets even sicker and has to move to the hospital to wait for a heart donor.
- July 2010 – John gets a staph infection and is put on life support. I move into a hotel in Durham.
- August 2010 – John has a heart transplant.
- August 20120 – My mom is diagnosed with cancer.
- September 2010 – We come home from the hospital.
- September 2010 – My mom passes away from cancer.
Then there was some more peace.
- June 2011 – I resign from my full-time job.
- November 2011 – I go to Africa on a mission trip.
- February 2012 – We learn we’re going to be parents.
- May 2012 – We learn we’re having a baby girl.
And now we’re waiting for her arrival.
Over the past four years I have not always focused on marriage as growing me into someone more like Jesus. No, I have fought, screamed, pitched temper tantrums, and yelled, “Why me!” at the top of my lungs many times.
However, each time I respond in this way, after I cool off, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit that this marriage is not about me, but all about Him.
We often go into marriage thinking of all we’re going to get out of it – all the joy we’re going to receive from it. When in reality, God is thinking about how He’s going to use it to make us more like Himself and accomplish more of His purposes here on earth and for eternity.
In reality, this is where our true joy lies.
What is your reality of marriage? Were you surprised by what you found?
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