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Marriage: why it’s hard work

December 8, 2009

Recently, Jeremiah and I have been going through 1 Peter together before bed. After I turned out the light last night, I asked him in frustration:

“Honey, why does marriage have to be such hard work?”

This question was birthed out of the petty arguments we had that morning on the way to church (an argument I started). He thought about it for a minute.

“Because I’m screwed up. And you’re screwed up.”

I laughed and couldn’t agree more.

“Do you think anyone has a marriage that isn’t hard?” I asked, really really wanting to know.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Dead people.”

Well… next Thursday will be our four year anniversary (we’re so excited) and this is the year I think I’ve figured out why marriage is hard work. More than ever, I’ve realized that I’m broken, sinful, and selfish. I don’t always love God and if you had the supernatural ability to open the blinds to my house from the outside in, you wouldn’t always see a pretty woman.

You wouldn’t always see someone who’s allowing the Spirit to control my life, but it’s what I desire.

The Apostle Paul said that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:22-23)

God has given me everything I need for life and godliness and his Spirit is in me to empower me to love my husband and to love those closest to me. I am thankful that God is patient with me. He knows I’m in a process of sanctification. He’s come to set me free from my sin and brokenness- to embrace the gift of marriage as part of his will to conform me into his image.

He’s given me my best friend, lover, soul-mate and the only person in this world I want to be with as a gift to steward, love, respect, and serve well.

Marriage is really hard work because of me.

Sinful. Fallen. Human. But through Christ’s strength and empowerment, my marriage can be beautiful. It has been. It is. And it will be.

And I don’t have to wait until I’m dead for it to be that way either. And that is so encouraging.

So what about you… do you think anyone has a marriage that isn’t hard work?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 11:43 am

    Amen and Amen Samantha! I am not married, but, I am taking these words of wisdom, to heart. I love how you wrote “He knows I’m in a process of sanctification.”…. I am going to let that simmer & resonate with me, today.

    Have a wonderful day.
    Reese

    • December 8, 2009 1:23 pm

      Thanks Reese! I am glad you found it in encouraging- it’s all a learning process. I hope you have a great day too.

  2. Anna permalink
    December 8, 2009 12:52 pm

    If it’s not hard work, then they probably aren’t in love. I guess maybe there could be an ‘easy’ marriage of two people who don’t care about each other, etc.

    I’ve learned so much this year how to NOT escalate an argument. Learning it’s God’s responsibility to shape and teach my husband, not mine. So often I want to say things, or snap back if I feel insulted, but God is teaching me about gentleness. I think that’s something underrated in marriages. The gentleness to acknowledge that maybe he shouldn’t have said that, or maybe she really is wrong, but that we don’t have to continually point out and argue about every little thing. But just remaining calm, understanding maybe our spouse is having a bad day/week/moment and just responding with gentleness goes much further. Oddly (or not so) gentleness is less ‘work’ than arguing and/or apologizing!

  3. December 8, 2009 1:14 pm

    I like what you said here, Samantha – and Anna’s comments are dead-on, too. After nearly 17 years of marriage, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. ;-) It is hard work, and I know, as a husband, I have a huge responsibility (Ephesians 5:21-33 – count how many verses are aimed at husbands). Marriage is a partnership, but I also know that when I haven’t been an Ephesians 5 husband, when I haven’t led nor cherished my wife the way I’m supposed to according to that passage, that’s when things get rockier. So I must look to Jesus’ example and lead as a servant in the context of my marriage.

    For me, it’s been more freeing being a servant leader in my own home. It took a long time to get there, but I know that God is changing me through that process, changing my wife, and I’m passing on the right lessons to my kids, too.

  4. December 8, 2009 1:27 pm

    Andy- that’s def. encouraging for those of us in younger marriages. I appreciate that wisdom. Looking to Jesus as the example is our ultimate hope. I’ve always loved the term “servant leader” because that’s what true leadership is. Thanks for your input.

    Anna- I am going to remember what you said about “gentleness” this week. Very challenging and convicting. Kindness goes a long way and you’re right- it doesn’t require much work at all.

  5. December 8, 2009 2:59 pm

    it takes so much intentionality to have a great marriage- but it is so rewarding to experience a real, meant-for-it, union with my husband, it’s made the difficult times so worth it, and the love God grows in us for each other seems to compell us to always keep going, knowing beyond what we feel “right now”, we just won’t give up- and it does always make us stronger. it’s just not about me anymore… and i have my moments where i need to remind myself of that, for sure!

    Megan

    • December 10, 2009 3:41 pm

      Megan- thanks so much for sharing your heart. I couldn’t agree more. I love what you said about going beyond what we “feel.” How true it is.

  6. December 8, 2009 9:03 pm

    Samantha,

    You are blooming into a beautiful writer. Every time I read your posts, they get better and better! I am so proud of you. I think you are totally right. Marriage is hard because of you! :) Ha ha LOL! Just Kidding. What I meant to say is what I said the other night…we are both broken people. But it sure is awesome living my brokenness with you. You make me a better person. I would not be where I am in my life with out you. I love you so much! Hugs and Kisses! Can’t believe it is 4 years already….only 60 more to go. Wooo Hoo! I am going to love you till my dentures fall out in my casket when I am lowered into the ground to meet you back in heaven one day. Glad this life is done with you.

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