How's it going? How's married life treating you, for real?
Are you having lots of fun? Are you growing closer to and more fond of your spouse every day? Are you learning new things all the time? Are you and your spouse best friends who really just love hanging out together?
Well then, you're probably doing it wrong.
Now don't get all offended on me right off the bat. Hear me out. Marriage is supposed to be a good thing, a gift, and if it doesn't feel that way to you, then, frankly, you really are probably doing it wrong. But don't worry, because I believe that no matter what state your marriage is in right-this-second, you can start doing it right, right now.
If you're a Christian, marriage is supposed to be this beautiful, glorious picture of Christ and the church: Oneness. Unconditional love. Delight. Joy. Fellowship. Communication. Grace.
Sounds pretty great, right? (Yes. It does. 'Cause it's awesome.) But lately, it has seemed to me that Christians in particular are the worst offenders in the "brace-yo'selves" game. And I'm sick of it! Over and over again, I keep hearing about Christian Married People telling single people, engaged people, and newlyweds some variation of this:
"Brace yourselves! You're in the for hardest time of your life! Once the honeymoon is over, woooeeee, get ready for some pain! Cause it is hard!"
Uh, seriously Married People? Is this how you're inspiring the next generation to strive for a beautiful, life-long marriage relationship? Cause if so, YOU SUCK.
If God intended for marriage to be a picture of Christ and the church, (and He did, just to set that straight), why on earth would He want marriages to be painful, exhausting, life-sucking, and miserable? I think the answer is, He didn't. Marriage is supposed to be good. Why would you choose to spend your whole entire life with someone if you didn't think you could build a peaceful, enjoyable partnership together?
Now notice I used the word build just then. As in, a great marriage takes work. But not in a negative way! Please understand that! Just because something takes effort to achieve doesn't mean that the effort is torture! To have a healthy body, you have to work for it. To make good grades, you have to work for it. And to climb a mountain, you have to work for it, but every step you take brings you to higher plains of beauty, glory, and perspective. Do you see what I'm saying?
Marriage is supposed to be you and your best friend sharing a fabulous adventure together for the rest of your lives. So stop being so freaking discouraging to the newbies!
On that same train of thought, a great marriage should include a fun, exciting, mutually-satisfying sex life.
(Oh yeah. I went there. And BTW, "mutually-satisfying" means that you both are having a fabulous time.)
Once again, this is a part of marriage that should be chock-full of JOY, and yet I hear Married People underselling it to the newbies all the time. No joke, I have heard of Christian premarital counselors, within the last few years mind you, telling young women that sex is just her duty as a wife, and that she probably won't enjoy it.
Back up the train soldier! If you BOTH are not having an absolutely spectacular time in bed, then you're probably doing it wrong. And more than likely, you're not communicating about it very effectively. And the Bible agrees. Have you ever read Song of Solomon? (And don't even try to get all scholarly on my and say it's just an allegory for Christ and the church. Nah uh. It's about SEX.)
Song of Solomon 7:6-9
How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine.
You want to tell me that's Jesus we're talking about here? I didn't think so. This is a Godly marriage! And feel free to go read that whole book of the Bible - don't worry, I'll wait - and then try to tell me that they are not both having a grand ol' time! And not only are they having fun delighting in one another, they're talking about it too! Sex is something you need to talk about with your spouse, and good, honest, open communication does a world of good in solving problems in this area. So I suggest you dim the lights, lock the door, and start having your own grand ol' time, together!
So here's the deal Married People - marriage is supposed to be fun.
If you're not best friends with your spouse, start working on that today. Talk. Do stuff together. Just hang out. Communicate about everything. Laugh. Make silly inside jokes. Cuddle. Play. Just have some fun together!
If you're not falling more madly in love with your spouse every single day, start today. Focus on the positive. Be thankful for all of the beautiful things that made you fall in love with them in the first place. (Write those things down.) And just open your heart. Be honest. Transparent. Kind. Show grace. Don't hold a grudge. Love them actively. (Because love is a choice, a verb. Not a feeling.)
And for goodness sake, stop discouraging those who aren't even out of the gate yet! Any marriage can be beautiful. Glorious. Joyful. Fun. Yours can be these things! And so can their's. So don't bring them down.
I hope you weren't offended by my letter Married People. Thanks for listening.