A young newlywed upset about a tiff she and her husband had asked me the other day what was the most important thing I had discovered about marriage.
An important realization was that a marriage has seasons. There are valleys where things are peaceful and smooth and there are those mountains that need climbed. Knowing that with each mountain, there will be a peaceful valley and with each peaceful valley there will be a mountain to climb leaves room for hope. And you need hope.
But the most important? In my opinion? I told her that most people I know include 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in their wedding vows with the focus on “Love is patient, love is kind”. However, most do not remember the last part, which in my honest opinion, should be foremost in the heart of a marriage. It is this part that truly embraces the nature of loving one another. Being ‘in love’ is easy, but being able ‘to love’ is difficult.
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” It is the ‘always’ that is so difficult.
Always protecting the marriage even when you are ready to run which both will want to at some point. Always trusting even when trust has been broken, by both, and it will. Always hoping even when you are in the middle of trying to climb one of those mountains and you think you have no hope left. Always persevering even when you feel you have already given it everything you have and there is nothing left to give.
Being able to remember that I said “I do” to this part of the vows is the most important thing I have discovered. Using this as a guide, a filter, a mission statement of sorts focuses marriage on being able ‘to love’ when the ‘’in love’ starts to fade. And it will.
(I also told her that having a sense of humor and pup in the marriage were extremely important as well! Thirty years into this lends enough time to find out how to laugh.)