July 15, 2020
This weekend, I will have been married to my wife for 22 years. I am happy and cannot imagine sharing my life with any other person. However, I can honestly say that our lives together have not gone anything like what I thought it would when I said “I do” so many years ago. We’ve had more than a couple of years that were not happy and extended times when we barely spoke except to fight. We’ve also had times that were filled with mourning and uncertainty as to how we’d get through the next day. Don’t get me wrong, our marriage has been the best part of my life, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This may seem crazy, but the hard times we have spent together have made us stronger as a couple in ways that nothing else could. Fighting so much wasn’t good, but it taught us to hold on to our marriage through thick and thin. We’ve developed grit through our deep commitment to figure out our marriage and stay together, no matter what. We learned to forgive and find our way through disagreements where it seemed we would never see eye to eye. Being sad and hopeless together taught us to rely on each other and find comfort in our marriage. Through it all, our commitment to follow God in our relationship and to remain together has provided the spiritual fortitude we have needed to power through everything we faced. In marriage counseling, I often compare difficult times to weightlifting. The way you get strong in the gym is by picking up heavier and heavier weights over long periods of time. Sharing hard times has the potential to make you stronger together because you grow in your commitment and learn to deal with anything. Marriages can go strong through hardships. The important thing to understand is that hardships “can” improve you, but they are not guaranteed to do so. Like the process of growing strong through weight training, you only get stronger if you feed your body the right foods in the right quantity and rest enough to grow. The same is true of hard times in marriage. You have to feed your relationship correctly and enough in order to strengthen it. You must spend time together, talk, date, worship, etc. By feeding your relationship, you will grow together and stronger. Resting in your marriage involves simply taking the time to stop and be together. Often, couples are so busy working, earning, vacationing, running around, or doing whatever that they keep themselves emotionally redlined and have nothing left to give to each other. Growing together means resting in your marriage. These seem simple, but they aren’t. It’s much easier to quit trying and walk away. Hard times in marriage are miserable, however they are worth it. Learning to hold on through better or worse, sickness and health until death parts you is learning to be strong together.