The Subject of Marriage

To be honest, when I connected my new Facebook account to this blog, I wasn’t aware my posts would automatically share.

And when I first realized they did, it was frightening. I write about incredibly personal things, and there are quite a few people in this world (like 90%) I don’t particularly care to know my struggles.

Also, when the urge hits, I have to write. That might be once a month, but sometimes it’s once a day. So forgive me if you’re not dying to read a housewife/wannabe writer’s blog posts. Feel free to skip right on over it.

I awoke at 3:15 this morning with a longing to pen some thoughts.

While washing the dishes last night, I thought about all the ways people justify divorce.

Some have zero problem with it whatsoever; if they ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Others believe it’s justifiable for the three A’s: adultery, abuse, or addiction.

Still others believe you stick it out til death do us part. Ride or die.

Over the last couple of years I’ve pondered all the decade or longer marriages I’ve witnessed.

Here’s the (sad?) truth: there aren’t many of them that, if I looked at my life twenty years from now, I’d want my own marriage to emulate.

And I’ve been wondering if that’s simply the way marriage is—if it’s just one big exercise in suffering and patience—or if it’s only the marriages I’ve personally seen.

I hear all kinds of chatter on the world wide web these days about the “Sanctity of Marriage,” or, “Biblical Marriage.”

I cannot understand for the life of me what that means.

I’ve read my Bible at least six times through, and I’ve yet to see a picture of what “Biblical Marriage” looks like.

There’s polygamy, adultery, fornication, prostitution, and so much more. (Honestly, the Good Book should be stamped with an explicit warning. Half the people in the Bible would have seen their names on that Ashley Madison list.)

I understand the concept of one man joining one woman. I just haven’t seen it played out well, especially in the Bible, and especially in daily life.

Understand, I’m not trying to degrade anyone’s marriage or even marriage in general. Nor am I defending anyone who has committed a marital sin. (And I’d wager to bet in one way or another we all have.)

But don’t we reach a point in marriage where the veil is torn and we’re left with only our vow to God to stick it out?

Maybe we find our way back to our spouse.

Maybe we never do, and we just accept that it is what it is.

Maybe we go our separate ways.

I honestly don’t know.

What about you?

Maybe after some back and forth with God, you’ve reached a place where you’ve thrown your hands up and said, “I can’t fix this.”

Maybe you’re worried that’s where God wants you to be, that He’s trying to kill something you’re trying to save, like David and Bathsheba’s infant son. He’s saying, “Let your pride go,” or “This has run its course, child,” but you’re too afraid to ask what He means.

I think at some point during marriage, we all reach that deep canyon of the “unfixable.” And we’re left with three choices:

To walk backwards, which can be detrimental to your marriage and yourself. To always rehash the same old fights and the same old worries and the same old issues is exhausting. But so many of us do.

To step around the canyon, carefully tiptoeing beside the deep chasm of pain that is right before your very eyes, praying you’ll get to the other side in one piece and with some small snippet of love left for each other, despite the canyon of issues you’ve so carefully stepped around, hoping to avoid.

Or to jump, to dive right into that deep, deep drop in front of you, unsure of what lies at the bottom, but so sure you can’t go back and would rather die than to tiptoe around these issues another second. You’ve become more afraid of life staying the way it is than of the rock bottom and those pesky thorns that will greet you when your feet land.

Sometimes God leaves them there, the pesky thorns, that deep canyon.

For life.

He doesn’t always fix our issues this side of Heaven.

That’s okay.

And yet, because we want Him to fix every single fallen piece of this world, we make idols out of tangible things like marriage or even the Bible, and we use them to crucify others.

We act a little too much like the Pharisees, and not quite enough like Jesus.

We justify hating actions we ourselves don’t personally struggle with.

We spout phrases like, Love the sin, hate the sinner.

While we’re on our second husband, or maybe our first husband but twentieth lover, or flirting with that coworker a little too much, or perusing that website, or stuffing our faces like gluttons, or gossiping, or anything else we* do, we’re busy preaching the “sanctity of marriage,” or the “truth of the Bible.”

We forget that we all cherry-pick the Bible. We choose the verses we want to take literally, and we beat the hell out of people with them.

We ignore that Jesus said His burden was light.

That He only wanted us to accept His gift.

That He was and still is LOVE. The very definition.

After every thorn and canyon I’ve found myself bearing and jumping over in almost fourteen years of marriage, I have no judgment.

Not for the single girl trying to find love, the guy who’s found himself in an affair, or the people who are just trying to figure out who they are and where they belong in this imperfect world.

Instead, I’ll offer the only thing I’ve learned thus far:

Marriage is not for the faint of heart.

Clayford and me, year one. Every year brings peaks and valleys. Some days, I vow to get the hell out of dodge. Other days, I think he might just be worth sticking around.
Clayford and me, year one. Every year brings peaks and valleys. Some days, I vow to get the hell out of dodge. Other days, I think he might just be worth sticking around.

(*Don’t you hate it when people say WE, but they really mean YOU? Yeah, me too. So rest assured, when I say WE or even YOU, I really mean IMPERFECT OLD ME.)

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3 thoughts on “The Subject of Marriage

  1. Toni! I really enjoy reading your blogs!! I agree! No one can judge others and we are to love! And worry about ourselves…… I also just had our 10 year anniversary so I get the marriage thing too. lol

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