Sometimes it’s a waltz and sometimes it’s a bar room brawl. Marriage is a picture of the Gospel, of lives laid down for the good of the other. I’ve found in my marriage that my relationship with my wife is, like most things, seasonal. Marriage relationships are ever changing because the individuals in the relationship change, as do circumstances like money and kids.
I entered marriage with my lovely wife in the winter of 2006. We were young, in love, and happy to be married. And by God’s grace, we will celebrate our 10 year anniversary in December of this year. During that decade of matrimony, I’ve tested out some things and found some foolproof ways to sabotage your marriage. Here's what not to do:
Stay mad. One time I woke up from a dream in which Lindsay had gotten with one of my friends. I was furious. And I – no kidding – stayed mad about it for a little while. When I finally let it out I think Lindsay thought I was crazy and a complete moron (she was right). I held on to that dream like it was some premonition or prophecy and it’s one of the dumber things I’ve done. Maybe you’re saner than me – I hope so. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger (Eph. 4:26). Apologize first and get it over with. Carrying resentment of any kind will destroy you and your marriage.
Take score. I’ve folded laundry through gritted teeth and washed dishes out of spite. Not exactly Ephesians 5 stuff. The intent behind serving your spouse is as important as the actions, or so I have found. If I serve Lindsay begrudgingly, I tally marks on the imaginary marriage score card. The problem is no one sees this card but me. Ephesians 5 says a husband should lay down his life for his wife. That means a complete abandonment of self-interest out of love, like the kind of love Jesus showed us on the cross. There is no score card to keep when you lay your life down.
Just let it happen. Days go by at warp speed when you have young kids. It’s easy to just let days happen to you. Get the kids down, watch a show, and hit the sack. Sometimes Lindsay and I are in the same room but we aren’t really there together. We just happen to be in the same space. Relationships take work and by co-existing like this it seems like unresolved junk piles up between us. Default mode is not helpful.
It is by the mercy of God that He brought Lindsay into my life my freshman year at Texas A&M. While my buddies and I were drinking cheap whiskey by the case, there was this gorgeous and godly young woman next door in my dorm. I asked her out, and she said no. I asked again. And again. And then we finally went to Chick-fil-A and the cleaners and I forgot my money so she had to pay. Great success.
Well, believe it or not, she stuck around. And if God did not put her into my life, I truly don’t know what my life would look like. She is a gift beyond measure. Your spouse is too, whether they’re the godly beautiful one or the idiot who forgot money for the cleaners. A spouse is there to love you when you’re unlovable and to link arms with you on a journey towards a deeper relationship with Jesus.
It is a journey worth taking.