A while back, I was chatting with an unmarried friend about the demise of my first marriage and he commented, “I don’t know how ANYbody can get married! How can you really know someone enough to marry them? It’s just too risky!”
Those words tumbled around in my head for days. I came to the conclusion that he is partially correct. I completely understand why he feels that way. He said it out of his observations of married friends and family members. No marriage is perfect and it sure isn’t easy!! Marriage probably is the riskiest thing you can ever do in life. Riskier than mountain climbing or skydiving. If you don’t make the right choices… you could lose your life!
BUT… in the risk and the danger is so much good, so much growth… so much that will NOT happen without that risk.
When “marriage experts” say that to be successful, a marriage takes 2 people giving 100%… I think that’s low-balling it. You have to give more than you have! Yeah, I know, it makes me sound math-challenged… oh yeah, I am… but a successful marriage takes two people giving much more than 100% each.
Since “math” says more than 100% is impossible, that extra effort, time, energy, passion, wisdom… etc. needs to miraculously come from somewhere… or someONE. Yes, marriage can be successful without the intentional dependence on Jesus. BUT… without Him, you don’t have access to the strength needed to give more than 100%.
Now, back to the risk and value in marrying someone…
Yes, you are risking everything when you give beyond 100% to another fallible human being. I think that’s what God wants from us, however. No, He doesn’t want you miserable! He wants us to LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13, the “Love Chapter“, isn’t only for married people, it’s for everyone. The beginning of verse 8 sums up what true love really is and does… “Love never fails…” Other things may be tried in an attempt to help or fix, but LOVE NEVER FAILS!
Love never fails. But humans do.
And even when humanness causes the failure of a marriage, all is not lost! The effort, time, energy… EVERYthing you put into your marriage is worth it. The most obvious gifts from marriage would be kids! But there is much more that is gained! The lessons learned while loving have great value!
What I’ve said so far is simply my “ever-so-humble-opinion”. It is an opinion that’s been educated by a lifetime of experiences that I’ve let Jesus use to teach me. And He will continue to teach me through things that HAVE happened and WILL happen.
A few observations from my experience…
Nothing is wasted!! Nothing, not a bloomin’ thing! I gained a lot during my marriage that I would not have if I’d not been married. My kids and grandkids are the best things that came from it! Also, I learned an incredible amount during my 30 years of marriage. Here’s an abbreviated list of things I learned:
- How to manage a household (although by “managed” I mean “barely controlled chaos”)
- How to fix almost anything… with wire, hair ties, superglue or duct tape
- How to get gum out of clothing, hair and VCRs
- How to get the smell of vomit out of almost anything… even the vents in the car
- How to stay awake all night with a sick or terrified child… without the aid of coffee
- How to set aside wants because someone else has a need
- How to never give up hope that things will get better
- How to let the Holy Spirit lead when you’ve been betrayed
- How to fight for a marriage
- How to let God fight for that marriage
- How to let go when God says it’s time
- How to let God heal when life seems beyond repair
- How to look back and realize none of it was wasted
There is a multitude of other lessons that have been learned… including some about helping children understand about raising animals for food and several regarding the need for steel-toed boots when cutting firewood… I just chose a few and will leave the rest to your imagination.
The knowledge and (semi)wisdom I’ve gained makes the risks well worth it!
Do I have regrets? For sure!! But I try to let Jesus take those and redeem them like everything else. I look back and have to say that if anything was different back then, I might not be where I am right now. And I really like where I am, doing what I’m doing… and LOVE where God is leading me… not that I know exactly where that is and how it will look… BUT I am LOVING the adventure!!
- Annie Nance