We stood there, looking into each other’s eyes, so crazy in love and promised to love each other through the good times and the bad, for better or for worst, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until death do us part.
That was nearly eleven years ago. I am sure that neither of us had any real idea of how much work it would take to carry out the promises we made each other on that day.
And we didn’t always succeed. We weren’t always faithful to those promises we made that February day.
The problem was not that we had a bad marriage – because that has never been the case. The real enemy was that we, like most couples had become all too accepting of settling into a comfortable, ordinary marriage and next thing you know, our lives, and our marriage – were on auto-pilot.
The mundaness of it all had begun to take it’s toll on me. I had signed up for the love story happily ever after and what I felt left with was far from a fairytale. And quietly within myself I began to blame him for everything our life wasn’t and for my own unhappiness.
I loved him, oh yes I did. But I desperately wanted to be in love. I missed the butterflies, the longing to be together, the excitement! I wasn’t sure what the solution was, but one thing I was sure of, the ordinary marriage may work for everyone else, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me.
Looking back, what I didn’t understand was how to transition into a new kind of love, a deeper kind….the kind of love that compels your heart to stay in love with someone long after the newness of life together has worn off.
It would take nine years of believing the lie that our marriage was good enough, only to be blindsided by addiction, unfaithfulness and dead end roads for us realize that we were more broken than we had ever stopped long enough to recognize.
This was our crossroad, in which we could scrap the whole thing and call it quits, or start changing the way we did marriage.
And then I read these words and I knew that is was exactly what was waging war against our marriage and our “happily ever after.”
Ordinary is the biggest enemy of a great marriage.
Ordinary is characterized by dissatisfaction, misunderstanding, and stale love.
Ordinary is the birthplace of adultery.
Ordinary is a place where divorce looks better than staying together.
Ordinary is the subtle trap that convinces you that your marriage is as good as it will ever get.
Ordinary marriages lose hope.
Ordinary marriages lose vision.
Ordinary marriages give in to compromise.
The way to an ordinary marriage is the path of least resistance.
If you want an extraordinary marriage, you will have to choose it.
– Justin & Trisha Davis
“Choose”. This was the word that got me.
What we both wanted was an extraordinary marriage, but wanting had not proven to be good enough. We had failed to choose it. To choose a marriage far above ordinary would mean we would have to work at it, every single day. We would have tend to our marriage just as an athlete works for their fitness and remains daily dedicated to their health or just as a master gardener tends his garden to keep it alive and beautiful and always producing new growth.
For the past two years, this is the new path we have chosen to take. Nothing is much different about either of us accept that our hearts have surrendered to the process of making our marriage top priority over everything (well, except Jesus of course.) Over our kids, family, finances, work, church, friends.
And I will have to say that it’s work. Yes, a healthy, flourishing marriage is work. But the joy and fulfillment that comes as a result is more than worth it.
Marriage is the world’s only living representation of the Gospel. And nothing about the Gospel was easy, or pretty or comfortable. But in the end, it is exactly the thing that saved the world. All because Jesus – who did not demand justice, was willing to surrender His will and His life, to the very ones who had broken His heart.
The mutual exchange of love that flows from that act of surrender was worth everything.
And so it is, in marriage. Because ordinary…just won’t do.