I said I wouldn’t do this. I told myself I wouldn’t give the trolls the advantage. I blamed it on their lack of reading comprehension ability.
But I just can’t have my marriage called into question anymore.
My marriage is fine. Just fine. Intact. Solid, even.
Next weekend, we will celebrate seven years of marriage. Seven years, two kids, a dog, several career changes, another several moves, lots of tears, and a whole lot of laughter. We have had countless arguments, followed by countless make up sessions. We have said, “I love you” an infinite number of times, and shared plenty of kisses.
I love my husband. I love him even more now.
I am not a marriage expert. If you are reading my blog with some expectation of finding 10 Ways To Stay Married To Your Husband, I am not that blog. Instead, who I am is someone real. Someone who has experienced it.
I am thankful for my marriage and my sweet husband of 7 years. Because there was a time when it almost ceased to exist.
I won’t go into those details here, because that’s a different story. But what I will tell you (ahem, trolls who have suggested we seek counseling for our “fighting”) is that we have been on the edge of that cliff. The one where there’s no turning back. The one where you are hanging on four small words that can wreck your entire life. Words that are so heavy, that you are physically exhausted from carrying them around.
I want a divorce. The Heavy Four.
Yep. Been there. I’ve only said it one time, but one time was all I had to say. The very words make my stomach churn like vomit is moments away. I choke them down even now because I hate them. I hate those words more than any other words in the known language.
I never want to say them again.
So yes, through lots of counseling, we found our way back to each other. Because no matter how many times we fight, over stupid things or big things, or no matter if those four words come creeping up in the back of my throat again, I will always love my husband. He is the one person who gets me. I said forever for a reason.
I turn my fighting with him into fighting for him. I do my best to make the best of our time together, even when we are in one of those valleys where there’s a lot of silence. I never let him walk out the door without hearing “I love you” from my lips, and he never comes home without waking me up to know he is safe. We look out for each other, we take care of each other, and we know there is a much stronger glue holding us together than any paste we’ve slapped on by ourselves.
You see, we really made it these seven years not by lots of tears or lots of laughter, but by lots of Jesus.
Because Jesus really teaches how to love. He teaches us through his own life’s example that we should be prepared to lay our lives down for one another. That even when we are most unlovable, Jesus loves us anyway. When we fought Him kicking and screaming, He still pursued us and desired us. And when we called for His murder, He went willingly, understanding that His pain was for our good.
And through the experience of this kind of never giving up love, we mirror it with each other.
From His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace. – John 1:16
Grace upon grace. Those three words are the opposite of the Heavy Four. Grace upon grace. Relief. Rescue. Here’s some grace, but I love you so much, I’m just going to give you some more.
Because sometimes the patience runs thin, mistakes are made, and character is compromised. But we still heap grace upon grace on each other. So much grace that it’s unbelievable to people outside of your marriage who know your story. So much grace that mistakes seem so little in the light of true and eternal and sacrificial love.
So. Much. Grace.
If your spouse is in need of some grace this morning, heap it on him. In wheelbarrows full. Dumptrucks full. Oceans full. So deep that he drowns in it. I love you so much, that I am willing to give you all the grace I have.
And that, my friends, is defense of my marriage. Marriage bound by Jesus, and not by the constraints of our own abilities. Without the fullness of Jesus, our wheelbarrows are empty and there is no one there to refill our grace when we have used it all up. We can’t give grace if we haven’t received it.