Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Anniversary and Marriage Advice

The blog has been silent the last few days, because I've been spending time on something a bit more important, time with my family and husband.

We just got back from a family trip to Maggie Valley for some fun in the snow and to celebrate Valentine's Day and the 8th Anniversary of our marriage. We followed that up last night with a dinner out at a "fancy" restaurant sans kids.

Why is this so important? Couldn't we have spent that money on feeding the homeless, or educating the poor, or worldwide poverty? We certainly could have done that with our $300 or so, but I think that money was well-invested in building a better relationship with my husband.

I love to read, and one of the books I've been reading recently is very negative towards the institution of marriage. They romance the idea of extramarital affairs and make committed couples seem boring and just another way to escape from real life. If you watch TV much, you'll see plenty of the same, if you even see a marriage at all on screen.

So, why is a happy marriage important?

As my husband reminded me during our adult conversation last night, marriage is a sanctification. No, I'm not saying as some people have erroneously said in the past that a woman has to be married to be "saved". I'm not even saying that a man has to be married to be saved. I am saying that our rough edges and irritating qualities don't have to be only that. If marriage is taken in the right attitude, you both can grow and learn from each other.

For instance, my husband has several irritating habits. I can choose to believe that I have no irritating habits, and I can get upset that he's irritated by my habits (because they aren't "as bad" in my own eyes). OR, I can recognize my own shortcomings in his, and work to change myself, not my husband. I can get upset at his personality differences and he can get upset at mine, or I can realize that his differences work in tandem with my differences. His strength can be my weakness at times, and his weakness may be an area of strength for me.

We can choose to take offense. We can choose to seek temptations. We can choose to sin. OR, we can fight for our marriage, choose the side of love over anger, avoid temptation, and draw near to the one we've already chosen.

Marriage isn't a battlefield against your spouse, it's a battlefield for the souls of you both. Which side are you fighting on today? Have you given up the fight and are waving a white flag of surrender to temptation? Have you taken up arms against your own spouse?

If you haven't taken the time lately, it doesn't need to be a date night or a weekend away, but it does need to be a choice. Once you've made that choice, while the road won't always be easy, I can guarantee the final outcome will be worth it.

As a side note, I realized last night that I really had not had a date night in a long time. I was trying to remember whether to put on eye shadow or mascara first, and then my 5 year old asked me what lipstick looked like. I'm definitely not some June Cleaver getting hair and makeup perfect at home for her husband, but I do make an effort to do other things that I know my husband appreciates. The point is not that you have to do something because someone else does in their marriage. You need to recognize the positives and negatives in your own relationship and work towards building each other up and supporting one another rather than tearing each other down and belittling the other person.

Marriage can be process of sanctification, and love is always a choice.

If you're curious, you can't sue your spouse (except maybe as part of divorce proceedings) because the law views you as one, and you can't sue yourself. Something to think about the next time you have a disagreement...
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