"There Are No Perfect Marriages." Well, I beg to differ. MY marriage is perfect; MY man is perfect; I have NO complaints. Although...he does leave the cabinet doors open. He doesn't tell me when he spends money so our checkbook is always in arears. Our libidos don't match. He...oh...wait.
Expectations really get us into trouble in the marriage arena, especially if we're fed a steady diet of fairy tale romances (or trashy romances). "Expectations are preconceived resentments." When I married I naively thought all men were innately like my dad; able to do all household and car repairs in an afternoon. That is not where my husband's strengths lie. And I'm sure I am not at ALL what he expected.
We have faced incredible struggles together: six hard, stressful pregnancies that sometimes held dangers for both Mom and baby; the loss of a precious baby girl; poverty (only by America's standard's); grueling medical bills; discouraging diagnoses of us and our children; my mental illness and trying to find the right mix of medications to treat it. In marriage, we are stronger than ever. We determined to take a sacramental approach to our marriage - it would be life-long. The word "divorce" would never be mentioned. Love is not a feeling, but a daily (sometimes grinding) choice. We simply choose to love each other.
Gary Thomas asks this question in his book Sacred Marriage: "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?" Exactly. Marriage should prompt us to pursue holiness. In Ephesians 5:33 we're told, "Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Earlier in the chapter wives are told to submit to their husbands and husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. We're addressed in our general weaknesses here. Women (for the most part) like to take control and have trouble submitting, but respecting her husband will bring out his manly qualities. Men (in a general sense) are not relational by nature and often will take care of practical matters before "loving". However, when a man takes the time to truly love his wife she will SHINE! Marriage is a path to make us more like Christ.
So, my marriage isn't perfect. But that's because my husband and I are not perfect. It is an excellent marriage, because we both encourage the other to growth. To be better mates, parents, Christ-followers. My husband. Next to that cross he is the greatest gift God has given me. He loves me more than life itself. And he loves God more than that. There are no perfect marriages, but some of them (happy sigh!) can get fairly close.