7 July 2016
It was the first of December, 2011. I was unemployed, searching for a job, but took a break from job searching to go to a certain special KFC at 1:00 PM. I parked my rusty old, brown Oldsmobile in a parking stall facing the street and took out my phone. My fingers were trembling with nervousness and anticipation.
“I’m here,” he texted.
“Me, too,” I replied in the text, and hit Send. I swallowed hard, and prayed, Dear Lord, if it is Your will, please let him be the One. I’m sick and tired of my heart being broken. Please, let him be the One.
It was the first real date in our four months of texting each other, and also the first real time we would meet face to face. I’d never been so nervous in my life. But the moment I stepped out of my car, he stepped out of his old maroon, Jimmy truck. His eyes met mine, and he smiled. I smiled in response, too, as if knowing right then and there that I would be smiling at him like that for the rest of my life, as if knowing already that he was the one I would marry. Somehow, as I walked toward him, I knew, somewhere deep inside me, that this was the one, that God had already answered my prayer before I’d even asked it. Little did I know then that a year and a half later, I’d be engaged to this man – that years afterward, I’d be typing this blog post to you right now, fully intending to tell you all about the wonderful and amazing journey that lies ahead in marriage.
Every couple’s love story is beautiful. But ours is my favorite. I love that saying. It is so true, and I always think that, too, every time I look into my husband’s eyes and remember that cold wintry day in the KFC parking lot. So much has changed since then – but I have to wonder if every married couple who sees the above saying really thinks this for the rest of their married life. Do they expect the marriage to be short? or do they hope their spouse will change so they can live a happy life? Sadly, too many marriages crash mainly because of unhappiness and non-understandable differences. Sadly, too many people walk away from that person they’d once been so completely in love with, usually not due to infidelity, but due to too much anger in not being able to change the spouse because of this and that. Maybe he always forgets to put the cap back on the toothpaste when he’s done using it. Maybe she never flosses her teeth and therefore that grosses him out. Maybe she thinks he never helps with the kids / pets as much as he should. Maybe he’s the only one going to church while she stays home and sleeps in. The list goes on.
I firmly believe that lots of people these days are afraid of getting married, because they think marriage is a ball-and-chain business. Guys don’t want to be faced with a “nagging wife” the rest of their lives, of dealing with her little fits of tears and rage about the littlest things. Girls don’t want to be faced with a prison sentence, seeing one man for the rest of their lives, and living with the fear of never being able to change his disgusting habits.
People don’t understand that marriage is NOT a ball-and-chain business. A wife shouldn’t be nagging at her husband anyway, just like the husband should not be treated as a prison sentence with disgusting habits. Granted, nobody is perfect. So why do couples assume their significant other is perfect when they marry? And why do people so often think, “Oh, when we get married, I’ll just change him / her. I’ll make it happen somehow.” God made marriage beautifully – where we as couples work as a team together. We love each other more than the day before. We look past each other’s imperfections and see the beauty that’s inside. Yes, maybe he doesn’t put the cap on the toothpaste every night, but overall, he’s still a great husband, right? Yes, maybe she snores every night and sometimes whines, but overall, doesn’t she make you the happiest woman in the world? You see, marriage isn’t by dealing with each other’s imperfections constantly – it’s learning to see one imperfect person perfectly. Each and every day, too!
Let me give you an example. My husband and I work as a team. He is the breadwinner and family head of the household, but we talk about everything. We never keep secrets from each other, and we never purposely try to hurt each other. We’re not perfect, but we see past each other’s imperfections to the beauty that’s truly inside. If we have an issue, we try to talk through it in a calm manner where we are listening to each other thoroughly. We have a strong marriage based on trust, love, faithfulness, and where we’re each other’s best friend. In marriage, it is a constant adventure, but only if you play the game right. But first, above all else, lean on God and ask Him to help you through the times when you need strength in your marriage, and be kindly honest with each other all the way through. Not every situation will go well, but not every situation will go bad, either. If you work through your issues instead of bottling it up inside and nagging / yelling, though, and remember the marriage that God so beautifully designed, and also if you let go of the small things that do not matter and open up to the beauty that’s inside your spouse, every situation will be successful no matter what.
Do your homework first, though – choose a spouse that will make a good mate, where there aren’t any red flags anywhere. Then, open your arms wide to the pure and true beauty that’s inside marriage. You want the kind of marriage where you can happily grow old with and laugh with, not somebody you’re not looking forward to coming home to. How did your grandparents and great-parents make it through their long-lasting marriages? Through trust, faith, love, true friendship, patience, and kindness. Marriage is a lifetime commitment longing to be discovered by all, and it only gets better year by year! But only if you let it – if you both work hard, enjoy, and love your spouse despite the imperfections of his or her self. That’s the kind of person that God sees – and that’s the kind of person that YOU should see!
Don’t forget to look for Jenna’s new book, “The Magic Suitcase: Martha” in online stores through Amazon and Smashwords! Buy it today and then buy it again when it arrives in paperback – which is coming soon! Focus your reading energy on a book that will remind you about the wonderful blessings of life, and the surprises that come upon life’s way!
Have a good week, everyone 🙂