Today is week 1 of the Marriage Series! I have eight great women who have so much experience under their belts and a lot of wisdom to share!
Go grab yourself a cup of coffee and read on…
I remember him in those days well. Those piercing blue eyes, that chiseled jaw line, and those juicy lips drew me in, and ultimately, his heart to relate to others as a career choice sealed the deal. This was the man I was going to marry. Our life together would be perfect with well-mannered and happy-all-the-time children. We would have a weekly date nights meant to keep our passionate love alive.
Yea. About that . . .
Fast forward almost thirteen years after that first official date, and you will see a picture much different than that one I had envisioned. Oh, we do have children. A little more energetic and complicated than I planned. And we do go on dates once a . . . year. Sometimes twice! Through the years and the changes, one thing has remained the same: the man I married is still my best friend and the only one I want to walk through life with hand-in-hand. If there is one truth I have learned over time and would want other couples to know as they tie the knot, it’s this: love always has been and always will be a choice. Right now your heart flutters when he steps into the room, but there might come a day when those feelings change. Sure he’ll still be yours, but some days you might not even like each other very much. When financial and parenting pressures build, you will have bad days.
Mark. It. Down.
That whole “for better or worse” statement in those vows you recited is actually for a reason. You’re not just together for the better days when you surprise each other with thoughtful gifts and take off on sporadic, romantic trips. You’re also together for the worse when months go by without a single fun surprise and your pillow talk resembles spit-up and poop talk. Oh, and, of course, when one or both of you royally screws up because if you haven’t figured it out yet, neither of you is perfect.
Too many couples enter marriage ignoring the fact that not every day will be all kisses and cuddles. In reality most days those kisses and cuddles are aimed toward the children anyway. And when the butterflies in their stomachs have moved out, they feel the need to move on too. As if they must have “fallen” out of love along the way and lost their hearts right along with it. And on they go “following their hearts” right into a heartbreaking end to a promising marriage.
So how do we break this vicious cycle so many good couples fall into? The answer is simple: true, unwavering, ever-faithful, unconditional, conscious LOVE. The kind of love that trades negativity and nagging for mutual respect and honor. The kind of love that fights for that spark which ignited the original flame. The kind of love that is daily put into action despite all the inevitable roadblocks. The kind of love that says, “When you hurt, I hurt; and when you’re happy, I’m happy.”
The key to a successful marriage does not rest on our feelings alone. Rather, it lies in our choices. And today and every day after, I choose my man as he chooses me—the good, the bad, and the straight up ugly – literally . . . my body has birthed three humans, people!
Always in the “for better or for worse,” I choose LOVE.
Stephanie Gilbert is an OCD mama of three “spirited” children – Four if you count her husband and the playful boy that her children bring out of him.. She blogs at http://www.iliterallylol.com/ where you are sure to find lots of love, laughter, and honesty. She dreams of being a published author one day, winning a lifetime supply of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and surviving the toddler years. Most of all, she loves her God and desires to point others to Him. She believes there is always joy to be found amidst the junk in our lives and nothing should keep us from laughing out loud.