My daughter Maleah talked to me about some people she knows whose marriage isn't good. My son Parker told me something similar about a month ago after spending time with some men his age. I don't have my pulse on those issues like I do others, but I have deep compassion for those whose marriage is bad, not good, or fair. Maleah told me that she recommends my book, Romance Saved My Marriage. I told her I hadn't written it yet. She has heard me talk about the concept so much that she thought I had written it and that it would be helpful for people with marriage issues. I just laughed.
Song of Solomon 1:2 (NIV84)
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine.
I am not sure why I settled for less than this passionate understanding of romantic love, which is the reason I got married. I am not sure why anybody does! Some would say that it can't always be like that. Marriage is a commitment, marriage is hard, life is busy, raising kids is energy-draining, affording life in the West is difficult, and the list continues. Can we be honest with each other? Why all the excuses? I know there are difficulties, and sometimes your spouse is anything but cooperative to have a great marriage, but why is the focus on all the negative things rather than seeing the beauty of what God intended and therefore enabled.
We celebrate when people have stayed married a long time in our culture. I find nothing wrong with that. However, I would instead celebrate couples who have been madly in love for a long time. If your marriage consists of putting up with each other, what kind of marriage is that? If your marriage is a partnership in family, business, or even the Kingdom of God, without a passionate love for each other, what kind of marriage is that? I know I am stepping on some toes right now, and I would have been stepping on my own toes 20 years ago. Marriage isn't without difficulties or even seasons of problems. I am proposing that difficulties don't define us or our marriage.
My hope for my marriage and every marriage is that it would be remarkable. There are some concrete things that you can do to live that way. Some couples will have a much more difficult time because of their brokenness and the issues they have to work through individually and as a couple. Still, most of us can institute very simple things to rekindle the fire or keep it burning.
The first thing we have to do is desire greatness. We must give up bad, not good, fair, and even good for great or remarkable. I wish I could say that my marriage is always remarkable. It isn't. However, those times of unremarkability do not define our marriage. They are a paragraph on a page in the chapter of our book. I will not acknowledge them as normal or expected. Whether your marriage is in trouble or going okay, whether you both need counseling or not, never settle. Never lose your hope. God has greatness for you. Your marriage is destined to shine His light, and you get to enjoy all the incredible benefits along the way.