Doesn’t it seem like so many more people give up on marriage now than maybe in the past? I think that our culture holds some perspectives that might just contribute to the ease of getting a divorce, or not even going the marriage route.
What do you think?
1. The wedding prep vs. the marriage prep.
THIS is a big piece of my heart behind WHY I do what I do. I love gorgeous weddings like anyone else, but at the end of the day it’s really about the marriage. People spend so much money, time, and energy on a gorgeous affair, but then invest very little on the marriage itself. What if we invested the same time, money, and/or energy in our marriages?!? I believe they would be incredibly transformed. So I want to challenge US (me included) to put the energy and investment into our marriages.
Details matter in the everyday (not just at the wedding reception). Let’s do the little things that bring our spouses joy, listen well, and keep learning about them.
The people that we surround ourselves with matter. Let’s surround ourselves with people who value marriage and commitment. It is important to have people in our lives who will encourage us & support us in the hard times and share in our joy in the good times. Choose people who are FOR your marriage.
2. Feelings vs. Commitment
You’re married. You have jobs, kids, bills, commitments… so many different things pulling on you and fighting for your attention. The butterflies fade, and the stress kicks in.
You find yourself being more annoyed than enamored by your spouse. This is where commitment kicks in. The vows we all said on the alter? Time to live them out. In good or bad, rich or poor, sickness or health, etc. More often than not, love is a CHOICE that we have to continue to keep making in marriage. It won’t always come easy, and often it can be the harder thing to do, but to make a marriage last, we’ve got to choose love. Even when it’s hard. Even when we don’t want to or feel like it.
A strong marriage isn’t built on feelings. It’s built on commitment.
3. Contract vs. Covenant
Often in our society we think of marriages as more of a contract rather than a covenant.
Contracts are agreements between 2 people that are based on an “if… then…” mentality which is really dangerous in marriage. It’s inevitable that our spouses will let us down and vice versa. We have expectations on our spouses that just can’t and won’t always be met. Contracts are broken when one party doesn’t fulfill a promise. It’s conditional.
Covenants are agreements between two parties, but the nature of the agreement is different. Covenants are based on commitment. They see the commitment as permanent, and a covenant is made on unconditional promises. Covenants are spoken in words that we often say in our vows: for better or worse, rich or poor, in sickness and in health… It means we are not going anywhere no matter where life takes us.
4. 50/50 vs 100/100
The 50/50 plan sounds great in theory right? I mean, a marriage is 2 people, so if they each do their 50%, marriage is good right?
Unfortunately life isn’t that simple. It can be messy, and it’s just not going to be that easy. The truth is that sometimes it’s going to feel like it’s 80/20 or even 20/80. Sometimes we have give a little more because our spouse doesn’t have the capacity to give as much. Maybe they are having health issues, battling depression, struggling in their job…. Maybe we’ve got to step it up for a season of life because our spouse NEEDS us to. Not because we FEEL like it, but because we vowed that we would.We said we’d love them no matter what, no matter how hard it was, no matter how tired we were, and no matter how much it took.
Sometimes it’s for a few days, sometimes a few weeks, but maybe its even longer… months or maybe even years. And it’s HARD work. Everyone wants the love to FEEL reciprocated, and when it doesn’t feel like it is, it’s hard to press on. (This is why community is so important!)
But at the alter you said you would. And the thing is… you might need them to do the same for you someday. And it might be sooner than you think. What if they gave up on you when you needed them most?
So maybe we take on the mentality that it’s 100/100…. because if we are being honest, 50/50 won’t really work.
Think about it…
You’ll never meet your spouse’s expectations nor will they meet yours. As much as we try not to, we end up focusing on our spouses failures and/or weaknesses… and there really is no way to measure the effort your spouse has put in. It’s simply impossible, so you can’t blame him or her for giving you 40%.. when in reality they might feel like they are giving 100%. It’s just about everybody being realistic about expectations.
So let’s take on the mindset of 100/100… It’s a win. It creates a team. It feels cohesive, strong, and forgiving. In 100/100… both parties are willing to step in and get the chores done, both are willing to care for a fussy baby, both are willing to sacrifice something of themselves for the other. And the crazy part about it? It’s life giving.