For Worse Invites For Better

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Love is not always an easy choice, but it is through the "for worse" moments of marriage that we experience the "for better" moments.

Love in Marriage: 365 Reasons I Love My Husband

I think I first did a Love in Marriage writing project about 12 years ago. I remember wanting to start a daily writing habit through a blog, but I wasn’t certain what that would look like or involve. What I do remember is saying to David on either December 30 or 31 of that year that I needed a blog site ready to go January 1. He didn’t get a lot of lead time, but then neither did I. But I at least had a plan to start on January 1 and write a post every day through December 31 about the reasons I loved my husband.

photo: mine

There were a few days along the way I missed posting, but I turned the next post into two reasons and kept going. From this point in my life, I also remember the process being a little easier; finding a reason to write about each day didn’t feel like a challenge. This time around, there are some challenges. And I think I know the why behind those feelings – we’ve undergone some serious sh*t since the last time I took on writing about what love in marriage looks like.

Several years ago our relationship was strained to its breaking point and in some ways we are still resetting some things affected by that experience, still addressing some of the places that were weakened by that strain, and still clinging to the idea of thriving in our relationship for the long haul. And sometimes, that isn’t merely a simple post about David making me my morning coffee and saying all is well.

Sometimes it’s about facing the person in the mirror and asking her if she’s willing to choose love again today even if she doesn’t feel like it. It’s about reminding her that love isn’t what we see in a Hallmark Christmas movie or based only on the good feelings. In fact, sometimes love is in the midst of the real, raw feelings of frustration or disappointment or deep hurt that you cover with the appearance of anger. Sometimes love is in the midst of chaos and messiness. But always love is a choice.

If you’re married, you probably understand what it means to say marriage is not for the faint of heart. Is it all uphill and obstacles? Of course not. But there will be seasons that ask more than you might feel willing to give. Those are the moments when you need to face the person in your mirror and ask her if she’s willing to love even though it feels exhausting or even impossible.

For me, that choice hasn’t always been an easy yes. But the yes comes because I am able to place all of me, all of us, all of our marriage at Jesus’ feet and ask Him to take care of it for me. I ask Him to hold it in His hands so I can release all the emotional entanglements that might influence me to hold a grudge or cling to past hurts I say I’ve forgiven. Then, instead of holding on to those things that will weigh me, and therefore our marriage down, I can take hold of hope.

photo: mine

For me, love and faith go hand in hand. Because without faith, loving another imperfect, messed up, broken human being is entirely impossible….for me. But nothing is impossible for God, and it is only when I come into His presence and release my ideas of what love and life should look like, that God can step in and bridge the distances that may remain and strengthen any weak areas with His love, forgiveness, grace, and hope.

I’ve learned I can tend to lose sight of the big picture things in my life, whether that is a dream, a book I’m working on, a business launch idea, or my marriage. I never used to understand the expression losing sight of the forest for the trees, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognized that too often I am a tree person. But the true beauty is in the forest; the trees are those small efforts in our lives, our marriage, that create the beauty that is the forest.

And I am convinced that God uses marriage and parenting as the means to refine His children in ways nothing else can. Scripture says iron sharpens iron, and one place that happens for me is within the marriage relationship. Marriage reflects both our best and worst selves, and we have the opportunity to choose which one we want to be.

Today, I choose to be my best self. I choose love. I choose my marriage. I choose God to make all these choices work.

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