It seems as though love is in the air and I have been taking couples through “pre-engagement classes”. I really do enjoy them for a number of reasons, one of which it reminds me how much I need to be doing to strengthen my own marriage. It never fails that as I am sharing and encouraging couples with all of the wisdom I have on the subject, I realize that I am not so wise after all. I come to the conclusion that I still have much work to do.
I try my best to encourage couples in how hard marriage can be, without discouraging them about getting married. I want them to have a realistic picture of things. If you have been married for any length of time, the reality is that it is hard, and the honeymoon period ends. This is where the real work begins. It is also in embracing that work that the strongest marriages are forged.
As I was thinking about the challenges I face in my own marriage, I came to the realization (once again) that when I find marriage hard, it is often because my wife doesn’t do things they way “I think” they should be done. It is in that very moment that I realize how foolish I am. I find it interesting as to how tolerant I am with the way I do things and how intolerant I am of her way of doing things. How ridiculous is that! Who made me king?
It is all so silly when you think of the little things that bother us, and the things that bother our spouses, when it reality…the majority of them don’t even matter.
Several years ago, I was talking to a young man who was desiring to be married and I told him;
“The thing I love about marriage is that it crucifies my flesh and makes me more like Jesus. However, the thing I hate most about marriage, is that it crucifies my flesh.”
If we were honest with ourselves, the thing that makes marriage the hardest is the crucifying of our own flesh. We don’t have any trouble crucifying our spouses’ flesh, but far too often we can be guitly of thinking ours has already been crucified.
It is in those moments that I realize I must first remove the plank in my own eye, if I ever expect to be able to delicately remove the splinter in my spouse’s. especially if it isn’t even a splinter.
Marriage is hard, but more often than not, it is because we make it that way.