One of the coolest things my husband and I get to do together is speak at marriage events. We love to be real with folks, make them laugh, and share a bunch of little relationship nuggets hoping they will bless someone. Today, I’m stopping here to share just one.
One of the greatest lies the world feeds us is that we should be chasing a revolving wheel of excitement. Unsurprisingly, that lie extends to marriage. The picture we see in the media suggests that marriage should be filled with fireworks. We see people passionately in love, longing for one another at their desks until they can be back together. Media also paints a picture of firework-filled difficulties. Marital arguments are often portrayed as intense, harsh words followed by deep regret and heroic efforts to “make up.” Anything in between these extremes is often vilified. Couples are shown passing each other in the kitchen, pitiful expressions under fluorescent lights with a background of mournful music. Yep, if those pictures were the truth about day-to-day life, I would want the fireworks too. But that is not how life is designed.
Real marriage is filled with years of grocery runs and laundry. It’s the thing that happens when you are picking up your kids from school and figuring out who is going to start dinner. Marriage is knowing who usually makes the bed and who takes out the trash and knowing instinctively which direction you step around each other in the hallway. It’s what happens between two people as they live out common routines serving a common commitment. It’s a whole bunch of pretty predictable days lived out next to the person you love.
“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun–all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:9
I LOVE this verse about marriage. I know it sounds really pitiful at first but there is actually a gem of a gift hidden inside. God confirms that everyday life is fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. He acknowledges that we spend a lot of time laboring over the day to day process of life. And He says that smack dab in the middle of all the monotony is the ability to enjoy life with our spouse whom we love. What an incredibly freeing statement.
When we speak at retreats we encourage couples to consider the “boring blessings” of their spouse. Rather than focusing on what you want to be more thrilling, zero in on the consistent ways your spouse contributes to your life. Develop gratitude for the everyday regular ways you toil in this life together. Be grateful that he always grabs the mail on the way home. Or that she dresses the kids. Or that he goes to work each day. Or she keeps the schedule. Or…whatever! There are so many predictable, “boring” ways that we do life together and if we forget to be grateful for them we miss daily opportunities to appreciate our marriage and our spouse and grow in our love for one another.
So please, save money and go on a fancy vacation. Plan a special Valentine’s Day. Surprise each other once in a while. But remember, those moments are too few and far between to create sustainable happiness. You do not have to chase highs in your marriage. In fact, we really aren’t designed to. God has promised us the ability to enjoy life with the one we love right there in the middle of the everyday. For it is the everyday that is the gift.
My husband just walked in with the mail. I think a kiss is in order.
Happy marriaging everybody!