Monday, June 21, 2010

Marriage (the reflective anniversary edition)

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. 7 years is so close to 10...and people who have been married for 10 years are just OLD, ya know?!

John is a great husband. He is a provider, he is responsible with our money, he carefully considers next steps for our family. He has given me two beautiful, amazing children. He parents them in a way that is full of love and strength. We have a cozy home, awesome friends, and a pretty good life. He cooks when there is cooking to be done. He fixes things around the house and cars.

Last week was a tough week for us for some personal reasons (not relating to marriage). It made me realize how often we get bogged down by little, everyday frustrations. In fact, when I look back over our married years and name the "biggest" fights we've had, almost all of them have been over small things. When it comes to money, jobs, children, we come out pretty strong. Those are not the things we fight over. Last week was a rotten week, but I was really proud of how we pulled together and supported each other 100%. We spent hours breaking down the issues and how we were going to face it. We encouraged each other. We didn't fight.

Each year I think about how I WANT to be a better wife, I WANT to try and curb my impatience and frustration. I want to build up, not tear down. Just like marriage, those desires are a daily decision. I will struggle for those goals every single day for the rest of my life. But there's no one I'd rather be fighting for than John.

A few years ago I saw the movie "Fireproof". And while it didn't win any Academy Awards, it sure holds a special place in my heart. It was an eye-opener. All those little, every day frustrations that we fight about - those are what add up to the BIG things. If we're not careful and determined, we could easily fall into a pattern of resentment. We could easily get caught up in miscommunication (or no communication) and lose this marriage. Lose US.

I have become more and more aware and concerned about the state of marriage in this country today. It's not political. It's simply looking at how easily we allow ourselves in and out of marriage. And the long-lasting effects that this attitude has on children born in those marriages. Whether or not you are religious, it is clear that marriage was designed as a COMMITMENT. It's a commitment to work through things when it's hard, to respect the person you choose, to be loyal to the person you choose, to carefully and prayerfully consider who this person will be. It's a commitment that should last the rest of your life. And, yes, there are times when this just can't happen...there are always exceptions, there always have been. But I live in a state that's in the Bible belt where marriages have a 50% failure rate...that is WAY more than just the exceptions, way more than the marriages that are toxic and unhealthy to all parties involved.

That, my friends, is a result of people taking marriage far too lightly.

So what do I do about it? I'm not sure. Still thinking and praying about what I can do. However, I know that I have to make a daily effort to keep my marriage alive and flourishing. Every exhausting day of my life spent working away from home for 8 hours, parenting 2 tiny children, keeping friendships alive, supporting our family, cleaning the house, managing insurance, paying bills, e-mail, praying...every exhausting day still requires me to put marriage first. It's a humbling realization, one that I often fail to do but refuse to give up.

I attended a funeral this weekend of a man I so greatly respect, admire, and love. He was like a grandparent to me. He was married for over 60 years to his bride, they are one of the classiest and most loving couples I've ever met. I am nowhere near having that kind of marriage! I hope to have all those years to get there. But among all the things this man imprinted on my heart, the greatest would have to be love of his family and of his bride. There is wisdom, peace, comfort in that.

Below is a song from the "Fireproof" soundtrack that I fell in love with the moment I heard it. It's really beautiful. Truly. I love the idea of praying for my marriage, praying that if either of us EVER wants out, that God will send angels to guard the door. Praying that He won't let us out. And I love the idea of praying that same prayer for my friends and family.

John, I love you. And I'm IN this. For good. Forever. I may not be the best at expressing it, I may be quick to anger at the worst times. I may complain, and I am more often selfish than not. But what you've given me, what we have together is my everything. You'll always be worth fighting for. Happy Anniversary!


Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! (and thanks for calling me old) :)

Leah said...

Such a beautiful post. :)

You are right. . . people take marriage much too lightly, and it's hard to believe that the failure rate of marriage is about 50%. That is SO high!

I think it's amazing that you are looking at what you can do, and how you can be a better spouse. Too many people think that if they are married a certain amount of years, that they've made it. I don't think a couple ever makes it. Marriage is an everyday thing that we must commit to.

Happy Anniversary and I wish you and your husband MANY MANY more. :)

Holly said...

Happy Belated Anni! And interesting post. I've been wanting to see Fire Proof.