A couple of weekends ago Dustin and I went to a wedding of one of his college buddies. Having only been married for not quite a year, everyone always asks us about our marriage. The easy answer would be to say, "It's so awesome. Oh my gosh, it's the best." But what I typical say is, "It's so great. Hard at times, but so good." I think it throws people off mostly because our culture nowadays doesn't know how to respond to situations like that. Have you ever asked someone how they are doing and people respond with, “I'm not doing so good.” I mean, I love a good heart-to-heart and an opportunity to speak truth and life into someone's life, but it tends to throw us off when someone is blunt and honest and tells you they aren't doing that great.
I feel like it's the same with the marriage question. How's marriage? “Oh, today it was really hard. My husband didn’t meet expectations that I unconsciously created for him. We fought about the air conditioner, our plans for the evening and he didn’t put the laundry away while I was gone at book club like he said he would. But, I realized how selfish I was being, my heart was beating ungraciously and I was reminded of how impatient I am with myself to take the time to communicate to him what I would have loved for him to do while I was out for a few hours.” How’s that for the truth? I mean, I guess it would be easy to say everything is WONDERFUL and Dustin is the most perfect man in the whole world. But, I would be lying. Not because I don’t think he is great; he is. But because, gosh we suck and we need Jesus and it’s a beautiful thing to know marriage is hard.
I find a lot of freedom in being able to admit that marriage is hard. Our premarital class at church was incredible. Wait, that might not be the right answer. It was a hard class at times. Dustin and I disagreed about things, we laughed, we cried and we celebrated. Because of those happenings, the class was incredible. Anyway, we are so thankful for the class because like many other couples, marriage is hard. There are so many things that come up because of our sin, our pasts, our families and everything in between that affect our marriages. I truly believe that if we had not had those who taught our class, our mentor couple and transparent relationships with friends who are married, then we would have been in total shock when we had our first fight as a married couple (which, by the way, happened the very next day when it came to packing for our honeymoon).
I love being married. It’s hard work, but it’s a good kind of hard. Like the kind that constantly humbles you and brings you to your knees asking the Lord for help. The kind of hard that draws you closer together. It’s the kind of hard that allows you to be open and honest with others about what marriage is really like.
People may continue to ask how our marriage is, because it’s a good conversation starter, and I will continue to be honest with people. I’m not bound by other’s opinions of how I answer that question. It brings me joy to be reminded of my freedom in the One that draws me to himself when marriage does get hard. I am so thankful for God’s grace in that way.
There’s grace for you too, married ones. God didn’t leave us to ourselves, even in the midst of our marriages, to figure crap out on our own. Praise Jesus. Bring others into your life as a reminder you aren’t alone. Acknowledge that marriage is hard, draw near to the God who created the mystery and ask Him for help.