Hard Thoughts on Marriage

Earlier this month, Ryan and I attended a weekend marriage conference with some of our friends. It was such a great opportunity to evaluate our perspective, thoughts, and expectations for our marriage. And some things really hit home with us.

The hard truth about marriage is that we fall in love with someone because they make us happy. We feel that they complete us. Their life goals align with our life goals. We think this person will give us our happily ever after.

Everything in our society preaches this mindset. And if I'm totally honest, I do it too. Here at CGP, we love weddings and we love dwelling on the most romantic moments of those weddings. We want your wedding day to feel like the best day of your lives, even if your shoe breaks and someone's car gets towed.

But as much as we love weddings, we love marriage more. We want to be committed to each other in good times and bad and truly live out our vows. And we want that for our couples too.

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But my marriage will never be the paradise that I long for in my heart. That deep-seated longing is God-given. Not because he wants me to be unhappy in this life. But because he wants me to long for the next life. To long for the redemption and restoration of heaven.

As much as Ryan loves me, he does not spend every moment of every day trying to make me happy. And how can I expect him to? I don't spend every moment of every day trying to make him happy either! We're both inherently selfish people. We each want the other person to do the dishes. We each want to do the talking more than we want to do the listening. We each think we make the best decisions.

And so instead of acting like a team, sometimes we act like enemies.

The longer you're married to someone, the more you know their weaknesses. You notice the faults that they carefully hide from the rest of the world, because you live with them, and it's impossible to be put together and perfect all the time. That vulnerability is a good thing. But it also means that you might not find yourself attracted to that person anymore. You have to choose to love him.

It would be easy to get depressed that the spark of attraction in our marriage is fading or frustrated that our spouse doesn’t spoil us like they used to. But I cannot ask Ryan to deliver my happiness. No human being can be my Savior. Instead, I set aside my longing for a happily ever after and choose to work towards a strong partnership where we love honestly, serve graciously, trust completely, and forgive willingly.