We naively base the future of our marriage on the pure joy we feel as we stand next to that amazing person and claim them as our own. How could life possibly be difficult; I’m with the person I love?
But marriage is not a quiet lake. Sooner or later a huge wave shows up and knocks us down. Marriage is not always blissful and joyous; it rises and falls like the tide. Sometimes big waves crash. Sometimes two or three come. Sometimes big waves seem to come for years, slowly threatening to erode the very core of the marriage.
Sometimes love seems to come easy and other times it’s a choice.
When it seems to come easy, be extremely thankful. And when it’s difficult, grab hold of the small things—like grace, understanding and mercy. They can be shown in simple ways: a smile, a glance, a note, a hug, a deed, a touch, a kind word.
Marriage is not two people living perfectly happy together. Good grief, you’ve slathered peanut butter and jelly all over a meat and cheese sandwich! There is no perfect and there certainly isn’t always happy.
Marriage is give and take—sometimes giving more than your spouse. Marriage is sacrificing—sometimes the rest of the ice cream—ha! Marriage is effort—even if you feel you’re ‘forting more. Marriage is learning and growing together. Marriage is walking this life together.
It’s finding your way together through a difficult time. It’s making each moment count. It’s being grateful for the time you have with the other person—easy or not—because you don’t know when that time is over. It’s appreciating the other person. It’s being understanding and supportive even if you don’t know how they feel. It’s having a friend by your side, every single day. It’s sharing intimate moments which strengthen the bonds of marriage. It’s having someone who cares if you come home. It’s seeing the other person for who they are, not who you want them to be. It’s having someone to share your burdens, joys and worries. It’s having someone to hug whenever you want. It’s having someone to respect and love.
And it’s saying every single day, “I still do.”