“I find that many couples strongly believe in having the perfect relationship, but we take comfort in having to work towards this.”
That’s a quote from my sweet pea. My precious new daughter-in-law. (Is she not the most beautiful little thing you’ve ever seen?)
Yes, my only son got married last weekend and I couldn’t be prouder – or happier. My eyes have finally dried and mascara is back where it belongs: framing my eyeballs instead of my cheeks.
But it’s not that they’re both cute as buttons, or smart, or witty, or love God with all their hearts that makes me say that. It’s that they get it. They are starting off with a pretty good understanding of what marriage is really all about:
- That it’s not about receiving. It’s about learning to give.
- That’s it’s not about making them happy. It’s about making them holy.*
- That it’s not about having somebody to complete you. It’s about being with someone who complements you.
- That love is not a feeling. It’s a verb – which means it can be practiced even if the feeling isn’t there.
- That it’s hard, hard work. And it’s in the sacrifice and selfless giving that we grow; and God is more interested in our character than He is in our perpetual happiness.
- That, in fact, when we get all of this, we actually are happier. And freer.
I got the pleasure of having lunch with these two very wise newlyweds the other day – talking about things like this while reminiscing over their beautiful wedding. And since then, I’ve been doing more thinking…
Isn’t that what all relationships are about? What if we viewed our other relationships the same way?
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Maybe if I viewed every relationship as an opportunity for growth rather than personal fulfillment,
I wouldn’t resent that person so much for hurting me.
I wouldn’t take everything so personally.
I would be more tolerant of that other person’s flaws that bug the crap out of me.
I would be more apt to step back in any given situation and ask, What is it that I, myself, can learn through this?
I would be more open to feedback and constructive criticism.
And maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be so quick to abandon those relationships that are so hard.
Because that’s the easy thing to do. The part that takes courage, tenacity and vulnerability is in pushing through when it’s rough. When there’s pain. After all, God forbid that in this day and age with all of the ways we can numb ourselves through eating, television, alcohol, drugs, social media, relationships, or Spider Solitaire, we would actually choose to show up for the hard stuff, feel some feelings and stay there awhile. And grow up.
Yes. I’m proud of these two “kids.” Because they get what most “grown-up’s” don’t: that life is hard, relationships are even harder, but that’s what makes us better people. If we let it.
I think they will. :)
*(Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas)