what do i know about marriage?
Answer: Not much.
I'm nearly 31 and only a shade over seven years into this marriage gig and in the totality of life, that's not very long. I certainly don't know a ton about the intricacies and mysteries of the marriage union, but I'm starting to learn, little by little.
I'm learning that getting married is about finding the person that you can't live without. And when you think of that moment - not living with that person - you can hear your heartbeat in your ears and you stop breathing for a bit. The thought is too much.
I'm learning that getting married is about finding someone you want to share your bed with, but it's also about finding someone who tells you the hard things, the honest things, the true things.
I'm learning that marriage is about finding the person who wipes your tears & tells you you're beautiful when you crash on your bed in tears because you can't get a single pair of jeans to button anymore. It's about finding someone who will hand you an apple instead of a cookie when you're trying a new diet, and it's about finding someone who eats ice cream on the couch with you when you throw in the towel.
I'm learning that getting married is about finding someone you can sit in silence with or someone who doesn't mind if you talk their ear off. It's about finding the person who makes you laugh. It's about finding the person who you can spend hours with, wandering aimlessly through the aisles at Barnes & Noble, laughing at book covers and discussing ideas & dreaming of adventures in the travel section.
I'm learning that getting married is about finding the person you want to make babies with, or at least spend a lot of time practicing making babies with. It's also about finding the person you can grieve with when your kid gets a diagnosis, and everything you thought parenting would be has suddenly been taken from you. It's about finding the person who's strong enough to hold you when you fall apart, and finding someone willing to let you hold them when it's their turn.
I'm learning that getting married is about finding the person that you call at 2am from a Nashville hotel room to explain that you have to fly to Denver because your brother is on life support. It's about finding the person who can speak peace to you in the chaos, in a way that nobody else can.
I'm learning that marriage is about finding your biggest cheerleader, but also your best reality-check. It's about finding someone who believes in you, knows your talents and gifts, and encourages you to go out and take the world by storm. Marriage is about finding your champion.
I'm learning that yes, marriage is about finding the person you want to serve, that you want to make happy, that you want to parent your children, that you want to join their family and all those things, too. I'm willing to bet that if we made our marriages more about our spouses, rather than ourselves, we'd probably see the divorce rate drop. Just a hunch.
But, it's not always about the other person, nor is it always about you. It's about us. It's about the union, the "we," the mutual submission to each other in all things.
I'm learning that marriage is a profound, earthly relationship that's meant to transform you, change you, and mold you more into the image of Jesus.
Is it about you? Yep.
Is it about your spouse? You bet.
But, it's also about God and His love for His people. Marriage is a beautiful relationship, full of hardship and hope, suffering and redemption and forgiveness and love. So much love. It's a constant reminder that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. I'm learning - slowly and sometimes painfully - that marriage is a microcosm of what our relationship with God looks like. It's difficult and messy and we swing & miss a few times. But it's about constantly pursuing the other person, loving them through the difficult seasons and forgiving each other when we blow it. Marriage is work - the good, fulfilling kind. You get out of it what you put into it and it takes maintenance, care, and a heavy dose of gracious understanding.
But, what I'm learning more than anything is that your marriage is yours. It's your own chapter in your own story that only you and your lover can write. There are times when others can speak truth and wisdom into your union, and thank God for the gift of a good community that bravely does so. But, your marriage is your own. You have to make it your own, take the advice that works for you and ignore the rest. There's no one way to have a great marriage, and thank God for that, too.
So, no matter what marriage looks like to you, may you be blessed, may you be faithful, and may you forgive each other often. But more than anything, may you love each other well.