Frustrated. Irritable. Tired.
I blamed it on a head cold and a long to do list.
It’s always’s something. We can always find a reason for an interruption in happiness. Even when we feel great and we’ve scratched the last thing off our list.
We stood in line at a restaurant, waiting to be seated, and in a hot minute of conflict, my soulmate was my arch enemy.
Here’s the gospel truth about marriage: there’s no guarantee we’ll be happy.
As a matter of fact, most days we can find a hundred reasons not to be.
And I’m not really talking about the big things like financial ruin, pornography, adultery and differences we can’t reconcile. I understand marriages end every day with good reason. I also understand the choice isn’t always ours.
But if we’re keeping track and letting the small things add up –those dirty socks on the floor, that burned dinner, the lack of romance, the mood swings, the way he unwinds over a video game– our marriage could be in danger.
Big or small–we can conquer all of these with God’s help.
I’ve seen marriages overcome the worst. And I’ve witnessed them end over insignificant irritations. Because maybe the biggest threat of all is when we simply stop trying.
When we give up, quit; stop participating; stop communicating; stop caring–we lose. When we refuse to forgive the small stuff, bury our feelings, offer a cold shoulder or punish them with the silent treatment–We are fighting for the wrong things.
I read an article about a couple who on their 20 year anniversary dinner reminisced about their lives together and then when they got to dessert, they talked about who got the house and who got the kids. There wasn’t a big reason for the split. They were growing in different directions, didn’t feel connected or happy anymore.
And while it may sound surprising to give up over so little, I think the threat is all too real. Leaving is often easier than staying.
I’ve been there:
We would falter and fail and taste brokenness like we couldn’t imagine. My solid marriage would be unrecognizable, a lot like the pieces scattered around me.”- from Chapter 3, the testimony of my marriage in Rhinestone Jesus.
Here’s the thing–no marriage is perfect. Not your neighbors or your pastors. Not mine or yours. How could it be with all that humanity? Some days we don’t feel happy, or loved, or loving.
“There is no challenge strong enough to destroy your marriage as long as you are both willing to stop fighting against each other and start fighting for each other,” -Dave Willis
We fight. We love. We keep forgiving. We keep working on our marriage because struggling means we are both trying.
And that beats quitting any day.