When I was single, I spent a lot of time thinking about marriage – wondering if I’d get married, whom would I marry, and how wonderful married life would be. I’ve now been married three short years and do you know what? I spend a lot of time thinking about marriage – wondering what we need to do more of and what we need to do less of to make it as wonderful as it can be. Marriage isn’t wonderful by default. Like any relationship, it takes time, investment, and work… lots and lots of hard work.
In the short span of time I’ve been married, I can tell you how easy it is to “settle in” in your relationship with your spouse. We get the ring, we plan the wedding, we say the vows, we enjoy that euphoric phase of the honeymoon… and then we fall into routines and patterns. Sure, we find ourselves having to make adjustments that come from living closely with another person. We find ourselves navigating the rat maze of syncing our individual lives into one. We learn to make things work… and eventually, we settle in to life as a married couple. The problem with settling is that, by definition, it’s the act of coming to rest – usually permanently.
I’m not saying there shouldn’t be rest in marriage. But, there’s a difference between resting and settling in where our relationships are concerned. Too many people settle in. We fall into patterns and even though we feel out of synch with each other, we don’t do anything about it. Maybe we just don’t think we should have to work at it. Why should marriage be so difficult anyway?
God calls husbands and wives to reflect Christ and the church (Ephesians 5). I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time battling my flesh to reflect Christ as an individual, much less in relationship with someone. And without some engagement on my part, it’s not a battle – it’s an annihilation.
This is why marriage is difficult. This is why we shouldn’t “settle in.” We should gear up, strategize, acknowledge the battle, and work together to fight for our relationships. There’s a lot of sin to conquer in order to love as Christ loves the church.
Jon and I each have a close family member who is currently dealing with issues of divorce. It’s a sad reality that has caused us to examine our own marriage and to find ways to strengthen our relationship. We’ve had a lot of conversations and are making spiritual, emotional, relational, and very practical efforts to build a stronger and healthier marriage. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing a lot of these efforts here, in a new series I’ll be introducing later this week.
If you’re married, hopefully we can all share and learn from each other. If you’re single, you’ll find out the grass isn’t necessarily any greener on the other side of the fence… and someone still has to mow it. Unfortunately, lawn services are unavailable. Like I said, it’s hard work.