Three Things I Know About Marriage

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Today my husband and I have been married for 14 years. We’ve been together for almost twenty.

That’s us in the picture. My six year old took it. I like that this is what she sees when she looks at her parents.

To celebrate today I want to share three things I’ve learned about marriage over the last few years…

1. Marriage is partnership.

Marriage is a blessing when two people work together to accomplish a single task, when they partner with each other on mission, when they support and lead and help and encourage as they walk alongside one another in the same direction.

It’s true in terms of raising a family who will love and serve God. It’s true as you both attempt to grow into your full identity in Christ.

But it’s also true in the little things. If you can, marry someone who’s going where you’re going. Someone who wants to play tennis with you. Or Halo. Someone who likes to talk about good books. Someone who hates to talk about books. Someone who roots for the same football team (or is, at the very least, willing to watch games with you).

These things aren’t required (not at all), but every moment a person spends pursuing a passion is an opportunity for a partner to experience intimacy, connection, and growth.

Life is in the details. Make sure your details match up. And if they don’t, and you’re already married, consider a merger—make some of your spouse’s details yours.

2. Marriage requires forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the most beautiful thing my marriage has going. Because we daily ask for and grant forgiveness to one another, we live in the miracle of grace. I know when I pray “forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us” that God’s forgiveness will freely flow.

It wasn’t always like that though. It took years for us to own up to our failures and handle them like grown ups. Today, when I do something that hurts Justin, I say “I’m sorry” as quickly as I can muster, with no reservations or excuses. Then he says, “I forgive you.” The minute he does I feel free. And so loved.

A marriage without forgiveness is a marriage where no one can ever start over. That’s the opposite of the gospel, and it sets up an impossible, unsustainable demand of perfection.

You aren’t perfect. Your spouse isn’t perfect. Be prepared to love and restore one another when you inevitably stumble into failure.

3. Marriage demands connection.

Pretty much the first thing God said about marriage was that in it two people become one thing. That happens fully when we commit ourselves to connection. To do that…

A. Have a lot of sex. For real. Have it when you don’t really want to. Have it when you totally, really want to. Have it in the morning. Have it on the Sabbath. Have so much sex. Because sex is miraculous, spiritual super glue.

B. Make time to talk. You may need to leave work earlier than other people do and that will seem risky. Worth it. You may need to hire a babysitter. Worth it. You may need to lock yourselves in the bathroom for fifteen minutes. Totally worth it. You two have to talk.

C. When you talk, say real, true, hard things. Talk about how you feel. Talk about what you want. Talk about where you’re headed. Dream. Apologize. Woo.

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I could talk about marriage all day (In fact, I’ll get to at an upcoming marriage seminar/retreat/thing I’m doing with Justin in Jackson, TN!), but we’ll stop there.

You guys, my marriage has been the most beautiful, difficult, God-revealing, God-glorifying adventure of my entire life. I want that for everyone who wants it.

God, I pray that You’d bless every person who reads this post today. That You’d lead the married couples into deeper, more intentional, more missional, connected, joy-filled partnerships. And that you’d lead the singles into either an on-purpose life of undivided devotion to You or a beautiful pairing that would glorify You and further usher the kingdom of light into this dark world.

Amen.