I like authors and speakers who tell it like it is without beating you up with it. One of those authors is John Eldredge. Since this is National Marriage Week, as well as the homestretch leading up to Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to share from a devotional book for couples that Susan and I are reading together.
We probably ought to just start here: marriage is fabulously hard.
Maybe that’s an odd way to begin, but it is true, and everybody who’s been married knows this, though years into marriage it still catches us off guard, all of us. And newly married couples, when they discover how hard it is, seem genuinely surprised. Shocked and disheartened by the fact.
Are we doing something wrong? Did I marry the right person?
The wonders that lure us into marriage – romance, love, passion, sex, longing, companionship – sometimes seem so far from the actual reality of married life that we wind up fearing we’ve made a colossal mistake, caught the wrong bus, missed our flight.
~ From Love & War: Devotional for Couples, by John & Stasi Eldredge (p.3)
Some might find such transparency disheartening or embarrassing, but I find it rather refreshing. No marriage, no matter how good, is immune to difficulties. Knowing that ahead of time not only spares you unnecessary grief and guilt but helps you persevere when the going gets tough.
Susan and I are closing in on 28 years and freely admit that we have had our share of hard stretches; we have even gone to a marriage counselor when we needed help sorting out some issues. We have watched videos and attended marriage weekend events; and now we’re reading this devotional together.
Movies like to romanticize marriage suggesting that you can experience eternal bliss when you find that one, right soul mate; but that’s not been my experience in the real world. Marriage is awesome and life-giving… most of the time. But you have to be willing to work at it!
If you’re married, recommit yourself to loving your spouse and find a creative way to express it for Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re married or not, pause to pray for a married couple you know. And support National Marriage Week by checking it out at http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/
P.S. – Last weeks message – The Prodigal God: A Loving Father – has been posted on the Sermons/Audio page. See tab above.