A generation ago it was not surprising to find couples who had been married twenty years or thirty years or even forty years. Now a long-lived marriage seems to be a rarity. In the past couple of years I have been dismayed by the number of struggling and failing marriages in our church and I can’t help but wonder how many are caused by expectations that can never be met.
When Jim and I married almost 33 years ago, we went into it with the understanding that there would never be talk of divorce. We were prepared to vow before God that we would stay together and be faithful to each other for life. Looking back now I cannot remember whether I expected our marriage to be perfect. I was a fairly idealistic 20-year-old, but we had already had a few disagreements and a few adjustments of attitudes and expectations before the wedding day came. We had found out that Jim was strong-willed and that I was stubborn, but that did not change our commitment to each other.
I do remember somewhere in the midst of raising four children and homeschooling and serving at church and running a small home business that I began to wonder whether we had lost something along the way. Some spark…some magic. Life is not easy and marriage is not either, but what we always had was that promise we made to each other when we became engaged and the vow we made to God when we met at the altar at Memorial Baptist Church.
In January Jim took me on a week-long cruise for my Christmas-birthday-anniversary present. It was wonderful – the weather, the scenery, the food, the entertainment, everything! But the best part was the realization that our marriage has turned another corner. We have come through lots of bumps and bruises and good memories and rough roads and happy days and stormy weather and now there is peace and comfort with each other and trust built over time and a looking forward to what is to come.
Could I encourage you not to expect your marriage to be perfect? Could I encourage you instead to cling to the God who brought you together and to expect Him to perfectly carry you through your rocky times? Can you believe that He is the author of your marriage? Can you expect your God to be perfect when you and your husband cannot be? He is faithful and He will do it!