Thirteen years ago I gave my hand in marriage to a wonderful man, now my husband. We were young, but more than that our life experiences were sheltered and innocent. We were starry eyed and in love. And it was easy to be as we had good jobs, little financial strain, time for ourselves and our relationship. We certainly didn’t know about the trials that lay just around the corner of our future. We haven’t tasted loss, grief, emotional turmoil and spiritual stuntedness. Life was easy and marriage our happily ever after.
However when we promised to be faithful in the good times and the bad that promise was put to the test in a big way. I still remember many snippets of conversations we had and one stands out. We were sitting infront of the hospital where Juneldè was fighting for her life in ICU. Blue teary eyes met brown pools of wisdom and we decided to put our marriage first. It felt counterintuitive, overindulgent and plain reckless. But we decided that we will employ our resources in order to still find the time to have date nights. We felt strongly to ignore any ignorant judgements when we go to a dinner or coffee shop to spend time together. In truth it was far from the butterflies in the stomach, dressing up in your finest, flirting kind of dates I remembered from before. It was more of the tissues in hand, mascara smeared, blotchy nose kind of conversations. But what it did for us is remind us that we are a unit that need to stand together, side by side, guarding against blaming and projection onto the other. We wanted instead to be kind and loving, forgiving and open in our relationship – not just for ourselves but ultimately for our daughter as well.
I will not pretend to have the perfect marriage, far from it! But together with my steadfast husband I have learned that any marriage needs focus, attention and nurture to flourish. I have heard of a wise man being asked what the secret was for staying married for a long time and he answered solemnly: “Don’t get divorced”.
So after that belly laugh I humbly propose the following daily seeds to sow into your relationship:
Mercy – Be merciful towards each other. Steer clear from judgement and focusing on the negatives. Instead love each others humanity of flaws as much as the strengths.
Acceptance – accept each other unconditionally. Love your partner for all their intricacies, flaws, the good and the quirks that make up all that is uniquely them.
Reliability – always be reliable in your promises, your commitments, and your psychological contract towards each other.
Respect – regardless of the humanly flaws always remain respectful towards each other.
Intimacy – Remember to hold hands, to cuddle, to kiss, to giggle, to touch, to hug even in the darkest storms these gestures remind us that we are in it together.
Admiration – you deserve your partners admiration for the part each of you uniquely plays, with dedication, in making your life work.
Grace – Pray that His grace will always overflow into your relationship. With Him as a core part of you a foundation of unmoveable strength underpins your marriage.
Encouragement – Be each other’s cheer leader, dream together, build those sandcastles without reserve and believe unconditionally in the brightness of your future together.
I hope this post reminds you to hold a little tighter when you feel like letting go, to put back the rose colored glasses and exchange some of the seriousness with long lost feelings of flirting and being in love. Mostly enjoy your partner and the sacred space of your marriage that belongs exclusively to you two alone.