Friday, June 21, 2013

For Better or Worse

This is a 4-part post, which will debut every hour this morning. Hope you enjoy!

I really like weddings, which is good, because we have gone to a lot of them lately. We’re headed to one this weekend, in fact. It just doesn’t get old watching a man and a woman look with this authentic, nearly disarming love for one another step into the ring to risk it all for the other person.

Haha, we all had our laugh at the ring pun.

But really, with so many family and friends tying the knot right and left, I thought it might be nice to provide some advice to these newlyweds. And by “to these newlyweds,” I of course mean to myself.

I thought a reminder of our wedding vows—and just a sliver of what they really mean—would be a good place to dive in so that at these beautiful weddings, I could improve and grow my own marriage. And, while I recently wrote a post for Stephen’s and my three-year anniversary with some ongoing marriage advice, there is always room for improvement. And ice cream.  

See below for more on that in a minute.

For better or worse,
The better part is pretty instant. You’re Married! You’re in Love! You’re Thinking is all Rainbows and Exclamation Points! (And Apparently Capitalized Words!) But in this fresh love, we become a bit foolish and think that worse is far down the road, or that we will be ready for it when it comes.

Wrong. Usually worse is unexpected, or scary, or weighing more heavily on only one spouse, or a source of deep pain, or a monstrous conglomeration of all of those things. I personally feel that is why “worse” is in the wedding vows, and not “through difficulties”: in my experience, “worse” happens unevenly, and one spouse may initially find things “worse” than the other. But that whole notion of “marriage is give and take” in working through the “worse” is missing something.

Marriage is all give. When it feels worse for you, your spouse must give. When worse for them, you give. And when you are united and the worse feels overwhelming for both of you, God provides the better. No, He doesn’t always make it better in the way we want it—in fact, that is pretty rare because we usually have no idea what is best for us. However, with our willingness to give it all to Him, He makes our marriage better.

In fact, to me this vow is the truest test of faithfulness in the human sense. God is ever faithful to us, and one reason among many that this marriage relationship exists to help us better understand that. God does not quit on us. Ever. He may not always appear to us in the way we desire, with all the answers and a bowl of ice cream. But He never quits us, even when we might like to quit on Him when things become more difficult than we thought we could bear. That is what we must bring into our marriage. When the ugly worse appears, we stay. We eat ice cream. And far above these, we work and pray our way towards the better. 

Stay tuned for Part 2: For Richer or Poorer

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