Why can’t real life be like the romantic movies we watch? Everyone looks good all the time, they meet in perfect holiday places, they always seem to have money to spend on anything they want, and after a few honest misunderstandings, all ends well with a sensuous kiss and happily ever after future to come. My husband and I watched the movie “Letters to Juliet”, in which all these things take place. The heroine even ends up being wooed on a beautiful balcony by a really good looking young guy. I mean, what girl wouldn’t love that? It was sooooooooo syrupy that my poor husband was about to gag. When the movie was over I looked at my handsome husband and sighed with longing for my own balcony…We never had a wedding; we just got married by ourselves at the City Hall. No, I wasn’t pregnant, we were just financially unable. Besides, the marriage is always more important than the wedding. We have been married 14 years and he is still my best friend, and I think I could say with confidence that we are as much in love now as we were when we first met, but that’s not to say that we didn’t have some pretty hard times to overcome…
When two people get married they promise to love each other in good times and bad times, and that can be very difficult to maintain. People, by nature, have the inclination to bind themselves by promises. C.S. Lewis says that ” A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache…” (C.S Lewis, “Mere Christianity”, pg. 91). My point is that the promise of loving somebody is an active promise, a never ending pursuit of hard work, compromise, respect, trust, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, tenderness, and the list can go on and on. The reason I’m writing on marriage because a lot of people around me are separating, and getting a divorce, and it scares me somehow… I am a Christian, and I printed out Ephesians chapter 5 verses 21 to 33 and when we are in doubt of what God expects of both of us as a married unity , we read these verses: ” You will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior… And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean… He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without any blemish… Husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife….”
I think everyone should read these verses very carefully and with much analysis, before they get married because a lot is expected once we commit our entire life to someone else. By our fallen state, submission is not easy to accept. I don’t ever wake up in the morning and say : ” I just can’t wait to submit today, to conform to the authority and will of my husband, and forever accept him as a superior force in my life!” Sorry, but that’s how submission is defined. To me it means, that yes I want to submit to my husband, but at the same time he has to inspire that submission from me. He has to show me the same love that Christ had for the church which is devotional and pure . He has to love me as much as he loves himself. These are super high expectations and that is why marriage is hard, BUT God wants us to yield our married lives to him on a daily basis.
How does that look like? We have to pray together every day, for guidance, compassion, removal of temptation, strength to understand our differences and the will to help each other in any need that arises. So if you spouse is overweight and that bothers you, plan to help by finding a way to work out together, eat healthier. If your spouse seems distant, don’t wait to communicate the reason for it. Maybe there is temptation of the flesh. Bring it out in the light where the enemy can’t attack. If the manner of speech has changed from sweet to curt and dismissive, talk about it. If the kids are driving you crazy, and take every romantic impulse out of you, find a sitter and escape somewhere together. If your marriage needs counseling swallow your pride and ask for help. DOING, DOING, DOING. Love is an active endeavor shown through our daily actions. Tolerating each other’s little foibles takes practice, but remember you love this person, so if he leaves the top off the toothpaste, attribute that to his careless , spontaneous nature that you fell in love with in the first place. If there are dishes in the sink at night, surprise your wife, your spouse, by washing them showing your love by understanding the nature of a super busy, exhausting day. Leave a note on each other’s pillow in the morning, or a flower, open the door for your wife, make the effort to prevent her from stepping in a puddle, compliment and support each other every day.
Be positive and encouraging with your words, prepare an unexpected bath for your spouse to relax in after a long day providing for the family. Ask each other at the end of the day this question ” What was the highlight of your day?” That will promote positivity and honesty. Pray with each other before falling asleep. All of this “doing” will not only enrich your marriage but will act as a much needed role modeling for your children.( if you have children) If any of you are not married yet, yield your search for your soul mate to God and pray that He will provide the best spouse for you, one that will find endearing all that you find annoying about yourself, and that your shortcomings will be priceless possessions in his or her eyes. I can’t stand the fact that I have some hips but my husband loves that the most about me and thank God for that! The bottom line is that our desire to please God in the instructions he gave on marriage , should always be higher than the desire to please ourselves, and through that effort alone everything else will fall into place. All of this is by no means a perfect guide to a perfect marriage. I just feel that our journey through these short lives we have on this earth should be filled with wonderful accomplishments and if possible one of those things should be a successful marriage.
Word of the day: “ACQUIESCENCE”. Look it up!
By Roxana Phillip-Hackett
Roxana is a wife of one, mother of two, who loves to share her faith with sincerity and honesty from her home in Hendersonville Tennessee.