My hands may be getting older, but I still get a little thrill when I look at my ring everyday knowing that a boy asked me and chose me to be his forever 13 years ago.
I am by no means an expert on marriage, but I know one thing that has helped us over the years. One thing through thick and thin, sickness and in health, through living and moving, different countries, jobs and babies and more… you have to choose each other.
Even if you don’t like them, or love them at that moment – you have to choose them. Choose the other person before your work, kids, goals, yourself, being too busy, your pride, even if you don’t feel like it.
Years ago I gave a devotional at a place I was interning. In front of me sat 20 extremely intelligent theologians and here was little ol’ me sharing a scripture. For some reason I started talking about love and choosing to love God and others and how bitterness or unforgiveness can hinder our relationships. In the middle of the devotion this tall guy, sitting in the front row, stood up and stormed out. I think it took a whole minute for me to recover. A few hours later I received an inner-office email that said the following…
” Today, as you talked about choosing to love others and what bitterness can do, I was convicted. I ran to my car and cried out to God, who I had not spoken with in a while. I then went home to my wife and told her I loved her for the first time in 3 years. See, something had happened and I couldn’t forgive the situation and had bitterness towards God and my wife. Because of that I stopped choosing to love her and just went through the motions. Today marked a new day in our marriage and my wife cried as hard as I did as I told her three words she longed to hear, “I love you.”
Love has to be a choice and in marriage it should be a forever choice. In the beginning every relationship goes through the googlie eyed/sweaty-palms/they are perfect and so cute even if they have a mullet/flirty/honeymoon stage. This individual could do no wrong and it’s not hard to choose love. Love flows freely and is head over heals. But it’s when you get to the “sickness and in health, through death do us part” hard times that you sometimes have to choose it.
In everything in life there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3) and the same goes for marriage. You will have moments of pure love and joy and then you will have moments of motions… But it’s what you do in the seasons of motions that make the difference. Because life changes so quickly and we are fickle people, you will feel that crazy love again – but it’s choosing to love and put the other person first in every moment that makes it everlasting.
“If you want a different marriage; you can’t continue to do the same things you’ve always done. You have to choose differently – You don’t drift into a healthy, growing, fulfilling marriage, you choose it. You don’t drift toward forgiveness, you choose it…and then you choose it again. You don’t drift into honesty, vulnerability and authenticity…you choose it. Maybe the relationship you desire is simply a matter of you choosing it.” http://refineus.org
If there is something in your life that takes a higher priority than your spouse, change it. If you don’t necessarily see eye to eye on something, talk and work it out and don’t go against them. Choose to see them the same way you first saw them with love struck eyes, even if you don’t feel it or they have morning breath. 😉
Choose to put them first before other friendships and distractions, before your favorite tv show or even your kids. Your marriage will still have to remain long after kids and friends are gone.
We think that our marriages need to look like the movies with flowing hair, perfect teeth and music behind every romantic scene. A little reality check… most of the actors/actresses in those amazing romantic scenes have many failed romantic relationships or even marriages. We probably shouldn’t take our cues from them.
If you’re struggling with choosing your spouse, remember Jesus chose you even though you where not perfect.
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:16-17
Jesus chose us over and over in our weakest moments, in our unfaithfulness of putting Him first, in our doubt and fear, in our moments of shame – He still chooses us in every moment.
He also commands us to love one another and if we are to have marriages that are different we have to choose them. We have to choose to forgive, look at the other person to only fill our romantic desires and even choose that person even when we don’t want to. Face it, we are pretty selfish as human beings. But if our love is supposed to be patient, and our love is supposed to be kind – not jealous; not bragging or arrogant, not acting unbecomingly; not selfish, not provoked, then it should rejoice with the truth; bear all things, believe all things, hope for all things, endure all things. Love should never fail. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Never failing means to forever be choosing.
Put one moment in front of the other, one step at a time, one “I love you” after another one and you will be surprised how “choosing” them can begin to look amazing again.