I’ve heard marriage described as a beautiful example of Christ’s love for the Church, and, before I got married, I probably believed that completely, but I have since learned that sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes marriage isn’t a beautiful example because married people are not more perfect than unmarried people. Do I think that marriage has the potential to be a beautiful example of Christ’s love for the Church? Absolutely, but to leave out the rest of it seems a bit dishonest and irresponsible. To leave out the rest of what marriage can look like is kinda like the Christian version of what Hollywood does, and that creates unrealistic expectations and lots of disappointment.
You married people out there: do you remember how it felt before you put the rings on? Do you remember staying up WAY too late, so you could have deep conversations? Do you remember driving an hour to hang out for 20 minutes? Do you remember putting your best foot forward to show that you would be a good partner, and you were a good match? Do you remember doing little things just to make their day? Do you remember going on dates and making an adventure out of the mundane? Do you remember being kind to each other and trying not to do hurtful things? Do you remember how trying didn’t feel like trying because it was new and exciting, and nothing was promised, yet?
I remember. I remember my husband before he was mine forever, and I remember me before I was his forever. We would talk on the phone for hours. We shared our hearts daily. We would take walks to this spot by a creek. We sat on a log over the water and read our Bibles together and talked about what the Lord was saying to us. We explored together. We served together. We were vulnerable with each other and cried together.
When he asked me to marry him, I imagined that our marriage would be like our dating relationship only magnified 100 times. Everything would be more than it was and better than it was.
I didn’t say, “yes,” hoping that what we had when we were dating would be the pinnacle of our relationship.
Then I got married and had a bombshell of a lesson. There is a phenomenon that occurs with husband and wives. It is almost instant. The rings go on, and everything you used to have slowly disappears.
I’ve talked with a lot of my married friends over the last few years, and have come to the conclusion that my experience is not isolated. At first, I thought it was just the men. It’s easy to blame our husbands because they are supposed to be the leaders, after all, but I’ve since realized that we (the wives) are to blame, too.
We stopped talking until 3 in the morning because we knew that we got to spend the night next to each other, but simply sleeping next to someone doesn’t bind hearts together like sharing dreams and pouring out your soul to one another does. Things that seemed so natural before actually felt like work. Things that used to be cute before were suddenly things we couldn’t stand anymore. I looked back on our dating relationship longingly, as if our marriage was lacking something.
And we finally learned what people meant when they said marriage was hard.
The pursuit that once filled our relationship had all but disappeared. But that isn’t what God desires for marriage.
If marriage is a to be beautiful example of Christ’s love for the Church, then we need to remember the way He pursues our own hearts. Even when they belong to Him, He continues to pursue our hearts, find new ways to captivate us, and experience deeper intimacy with us. Even though it’s easy to get comfortable knowing that my husband is only mine, I try to find new ways to pursue his heart because I know that he needs the pursuit just as much as I do.
How do you pursue your spouse to show them they are more than a trophy to be won and then forgotten?