Several people have told me, and recently our counselor, “Marriage is hard, but it is worth it”.
One day I was listening to Erica Campbell morning show as I was dropping baby girl off to school. That day, she was discussing marriage, and how hard it is. She said her husband admitted, “He really didn’t understand what he was repeating at the ceremony, the vows.” She said no one really does. Erica then further went on to say their marriage counseling at the church she attends go through the vows with the couples and break down what it means for the better and for the worse.
And I reflect back to my intimate wedding ceremony that took place a little over a year ago. The vows were so eloquently customized, but traditional – through thick and thin I will be here for you and to love, honor and obey I repeated.
Take it from me, marriage takes work and it is hard. The husband and wife both have to work at it. It will not last if one (or both) are not working and being intentional about the marriage.
This is why the traditional vows cover the highs and lows of life – and that marriage should stand the test of these:
For better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part. (NOTE the vows are not – for better, for richer and in health… No. Just like an individual has valley and mountain seasons of life, so does your marriage.)
Think about what is a situation were “worse” comes into play? Maybe your partner has a drug addiction, and come to find out they don’t want to quit? Maybe during your marriage they commit infidelity? Maybe in your marriage they find out they have cancer and you will have to take care of them because they can’t care for themselves? Maybe they lose their job? Maybe you lose your job also? Maybe they are unlovable some days, and you can’t stand the sight of them? These are real situations that have happened in marriages – but what would you do? God’s covenant with marriage is until death. Not until you get sick of them, or you can’t care for them anymore, or you don’t want to be with them. Even though we treat marriage as a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship – marriage is anything but! It’s a covenant with God that you also recite those vows to – not just each other. (I believe this is why the New Testament is so strong on the character of Christians so they can endure some things they go through, even with marriage.)
Before “I do” singles have the job of first finding their purpose, and know what they can and cannot tolerate. For instance you know you have a history of on and off with your relationship, you will bring that mentality into your marriage. If you know you want a wife that is walking in her purpose in ministry, and she isn’t close to that now, marriage won’t make her magically go into ministry. If you know you want a husband that has a career, you know marriage won’t change a guy jumping from job to job to “get that money”. Singles: use discernment in choosing your relationships / spouses. If you see the red flags in the relationship, it won’t magically disappear in marriage.
In marriage, you will see the very best in your spouse, and also you will see their very worse. But a true test of Christian character will prove what you are made of… are you made to quit? Even in the toughest of times, will you quit? But will you fight for your marriage?
Hebrews 12:1 states “…so we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit.” We should run (endure) the race (marriage) that is before us and never quit. After all, what God puts together, let no man separate – not even you!
So put more preparation for the journey of marriage, instead of the wedding day itself. I am a wedding planner and coordinator and I have brides that literally prepare for a year just for the one wedding day. But I wonder – do they put that much work and stress in for their actual marriage? Something to think about.