||[Aug. 12th, 2009|05:56 pm]
The Problem with Marriage|
Being married just over a year now I would not go so far to say I'm an expert at the subject or anything of the like, even though my now-husband and I often joked about how good we were at dating, and that we'd someday write a book together to help all the helpless fools who just couldn't get their stuff together like we had. We were pretty good at dating, minus a few very disappointing experiences. But that beginning stage- that was our real shinning star time. We had a friendship before we dated, so we didn't do that whole getting to know you phase where we have to hide every flaw, but we still were both trying to put our best side out there to keep the other interested.
The bigger disappointments in our relationship happened the closer we got to marriage. The more sinful behavior; in lust and in anger started to be more apparent. I can't speak for him, though I do much more than I should, but I know it was because I was comfortable with him. To the point that I didn't care how ugly I was.
Our first year of marriage was rough to say the absolute least. I am ashamed of how many holes will need patching in our walls when we move, and my poor Ikea lamps and dishware that so sorrowfully met their maker before their time. And now, I'm sitting outside of Panera, scamming their free wi-fi, to talk to the Internet to avoid his Bible study because I was in a piss sour mood all day and took it out on him. And that's the problem with marriage. You get so close to a person that the comfort level is so high, you don't care that they see you at your ugliest. The days of doing your hair and makeup are long gone, and smiling the pain away is no longer. Now, he gets the 'real' me. Real sinful me, actually. And because I'm so comfortable I don't care. Or, can at least pretend to not care. And as I sit here, typing these words that really, maybe he will be the only one to read, I'm realizing that the whole idea about marriage being the closest representation to our relationship with God is so true. Too true. So true it's ugly.
I remember when I was first a Christian I wanted to please God so so much. I wanted to look nice on Sunday mornings and read my Bible every night so He'd be proud. I put in the effort to have a solid relationship with Him. Talked openly about how I was feeling, but more so about how I could be better for His use. With all relationships there are the ebbs and flows. But recently, just a whole lot of ebbing (or is it flowing?). I put in the time when I don't have to work, when I'm not tired, or really, when Facebook and blogs are all caught up. It's pretty stagnant, and of course it isn't GOD who is to blame. He's always there; merciful and gracious as ever. Waiting patiently for my return. He sees me at my ugliest- when I don't treat anyone the way He'd desire for me me to and forgives me for my behavior.
And sadly, this is what my marriage has resorted to. Eric tolerating a whole lot of 'ugly' in return for his love and mercy with me. He gets to embrace my ridiculous meltdowns because my mixer doesn't mix my cake batter as well as I want, my inability to mutter the words, "thank you" as he cleans the disaster of a kitchen mess I create, and always always always in the first one to break down and say sorry- even when he was actually not at fault (which isn't too often...;) Much more bitterness than tenderness and anger than patience. But at the end of the day; he wants to forgive me. He wants to love me.
So, the problem with marriage is the closer we get, the more intimate we become, and the more our sinful nature can come out. We want to be so perfect for the person we adore the most, but sometimes the absolute most rotten things come out instead.
As if that weren't ugly enough; I have Satan constantly all up in my grill. Not letting me believe that the above is true. He won't stay. He won't forgive. You'll push him too far. And God's left a long time ago.
But He hasn't. And Eric won't. Because Eric, with all his quirks and imperfections desires more than anything to love me because Jesus calls him to do that. And Jesus died for me. C'mon! Who dies for someone that they'd so quickly give up? Not Him, not according the His word:
"remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the common wealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. BUT NOW in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace..." Ephesians 2:12-14
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. ..." Ephesians 5:25-35
And then, even with the lies and truth layed before myself, I have to look at my actions. Even in Eric were to leave, and my marriage to break and crumble, I need to be accountable to God for my role in it all.
"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope. Be patient in tribulation be constant in prayer. " Romans 12:9-12
And lastly, memorized by many, personified by few:
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
I can look at myself and know the standard to which God calls me to is not being met on my end. I can dwell on this and give up, or I can finish my bagel, go home to my husband with confidence in God's power to overcome the ugliest of ugly, and learn to love.
I choose love.