I read an article today. (Big surprise, I know.) It was exactly what I needed right now, as the husband and I tackle some hurdles together. In his article, “3 Reasons to Stay Married,” Tyler Ward talks about how marriage is a fire, bringing out our lesser qualities to burn them away; marriage requires putting your spouse before everything else but God; and marriage can change the world by changing the couple, the kids, and the people around them.
There is so much goodness in this. Go read it. Right now. Go. Because the truth about marriage is exactly this: it WILL be hard and at times, it WILL disappoint. Why? Because you’re not married to a perfect person, and YOU are not a perfect person.
What I am continually discovering is that this dance of marriage is more beautiful than any Cinderella could ever have imagined. Her prince accepted her as she was and didn’t challenge her at all. There is that necessary component of acceptance. Marriage cannot survive if there is not unconditional acceptance, but it doesn’t stop there. Marriage brings out the ugly, shameful, embarrassing, and painful. It brings out the side of us that we hide from the rest of the world and, sometimes, even from ourselves. If it is a healthy marriage, it brings these hidden things out in the only place where it is safe to do so.
And marriage doesn’t stop there. It just builds. It builds and builds and builds, like a never-ending wave of growth. Like the magical bean stalk. Just when you think you’ve gotten everything out in the open, when you’re coasting in “Happy Marriage Land,” something else rises to the surface. The beautiful thing about it, though, is that a true partnership will have cloud-touching highs and rock-bottom lows, but each time, it is farther than the next. This low you’re in now is just one step higher than the low you had three months ago, and that high to come will be one step higher than the last.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.”
It is not easy. It is not pleasant. Sparks fly. Pieces shred off. There is friction and pain and doubt that it will ever look like it’s supposed to. Stopping after just a little bit of friction, though, leaves you with a dull, misshapen, useless hunk of iron. Sharpening it, though, leaves you with a sword. And I don’t think anyone would deny that there is a certain beauty to the blade of a sword, even as it’s dangerous.
That is what a true, healthy marriage is. It is full of friction. It is a constant returning to your spouse, even when you don’t want to. It is facing the sparks and refusing to stop, because you believe that something beautiful will come from it.
So… Do you think these are good enough reasons to stay married? In the face of the struggle, do you think it’s worth it?