25 October 2006

My marital lie

The news of my sister's impending nuptials has brought to the forefront some thinking I've been doing about marriage and relationships. See, as a pastor, I'm in the position to impart wisdom about marriage to all sorts of folks, most of whom don't realize that I don't have any business imparting wisdom to anyone.
Anyway, one of the things that I usually tell these young, impressionable folks is that marriage is hard; it takes love and patience and work and compromise. It's not to be taken lightly, I tell them. It's a high calling and probably the most important human relationship a person will ever have. And while I agree with most of that, I've realized that I always lead off this conversation with a lie.
"Marriage is hard." That's my lie. And while I realize that for some folks marriage can be hard, for me, that statement is a falsehood. Because if there's one thing in my life that's expressly not difficult, it's my marriage. Working with an 80 year old church, forgiving my congregants when I feel hurt, working up energy to get to the grocery store when we need milk... that's hard work. Being married to Dennis Stewart is not in the least bit hard.
Now maybe this is because I married an incredibly patient, considerate, thoughtful, attentive, flexible, and did-I-mention "patient" man. It's so good that one of us is all of those things, because I've never had to work, let alone hard, to be married to him. Yes, I've had to compromise and care and re-frame and re-focus. But work? Nah....
In fact, the hardest thing about being married, is that I happen to be in a marriage wherein I am an integral part. The hardest thing about marriage for me is putting up with me! Working with my thoughts and fears and desires and agenda... that's what's been hard. This marriage would be a complete cakewalk for me were it not me in it! You know what I mean, yes?
So. I've decided that I'm going to quit telling people that marriage is hard work. I'm going to start telling them that it may be hard work, but that, in my opinion, most of the hard stuff should be applied to themselves.
Because as far as I've experienced, marriage is just wonderful. Divinely wonderful through and through. And I'd be lying if I said it wasn't.


Life's Good said...

I'm with you on that. Marriage rocks! Sure, there may be some 'hard' moments, but mostly, it is sheer joy. I had to wait many years for this joy. I'm going to make this work!

Unknown said...

Wow, a lot of people would die for that kind of marriage and partner.
I got a husband cut out of the same cloth. Remember that women, look for the patient cloth.

But you truly have hit upon what is hard, it is ourselves. And that may be a better place to start. I don't think you lie, you were probably taught to say that marriage is hard, or read it somewhere. But the only reason it is hard is because of our humaness, unresolved issues, patterns, and the incredible "I". What a gift you will now be able to give those in premarital counseling. Thanks for the honesty, and I am glad for you.

Anonymous said...

(deep contented sigh) Yes, I oh so understand. Thanks for being so transparent.

Sophia said...

This has been my experience with my marriage also.

Thanks for this post!


Sally said...

remember to add though that you have been blessed- some of us simply have to work at it!

Anonymous said...

You know what, April? I don't tell young couples that it is "hard." I tell them that it is "good." Because it is. Because it can be.

People always told me parenthood was tough. They told me that more than one kid was tough. "They" tell you all sorts of thing...mostly just because they are talking, i think...not necessarily because they believe it. But none of it has been as bad as they have said. (Except childbirth. That was worse. :) )

Marriage is GOOD! (There may be ups and downs...but you are so right! Often, mostly, it is ME that is the issue, not HIM!)

BTW...y'all looked very cute up above there! Particularly the little unicorn. :)