When I first got engaged, I assumed that everyone would be as excited as we were. I was absolutely out of my mind in love with a man who had been my best friend for years. The word fiancé giddily rolled off of my tongue and our long-awaited wedding day couldn’t come soon enough (it was actually only a five month engagement, but it felt like forever!) The idea of marriage was a dream come true for me – but based on many people’s words and opinions, I was beginning to question if it was actually as bad as they made it seem.
For some people, our joy and very real love for one another didn’t seem as important to them as it was to us. Instead of partaking in our excitement, they took it upon themselves to “warn” us.
Many people told me that I was way too young. Some said, without hesitation, that marriage was the biggest mistake of their lives. Absolute strangers shared horror stories about divorce as soon as the word “fiancé” came out of my mouth. I quickly began to choke that word down, rather than sharing it with joy. My heart broke when I showed my ring to a woman whom I greatly admired and her response was, “Oh, Lindsey. Marriage is so hard.”
It’s been five and a half years since my husband proposed – and guess what? Marriage is so good. We really are having so much fun. We absolutely love being married and to this day, we are the very, very best of friends.
I want to share this with my single and engaged friends – not to boast – but to encourage. I have been surrounded by divorce. I have lived amongst and alongside broken families. I’m not immune to it and I don’t pretend to be; I know very well that temptation and selfishness can overtake the most devout marriage.
To be clear – my husband and I have had our own share of struggles. He and I have had moments in which we wondered if we were going to make it another day. One of my best friends can attest to the fact that she has received phone calls, during which my tears drown out my voice, because Jesse and I had just gone through an awful argument. But despite any hardship, we haven’t quit, and we don’t want to, because the good so far outweighs the “hard”.
Sweet friends – I want to encourage you:
Marriage is a blast. Marriage is good. It is a gift and it’s hard work. But what good things in life don’t take work? If you choose to get married, it will be one of the most purifying relationships that you will ever be a part of. I have countless friends that I share life with who absolutely adore their marriages.
Yes, some days it can be more bitter than sweet, but, guys, it is still so sweet.
Whenever my husband and I drive to a wedding, we often talk about the fact that the couple has very little idea about what they’re getting themselves into:
They can’t fathom how special and unforgettable the moment will be when they look one another in the eyes after their new baby laughs for the very first time.
Many couples have yet to experience the joy that comes from creating their very own holiday traditions with their little family. (We love hot cocoa, board games, ugly onesies and Christmas music dance parties on Christmas Eve!)
They have no idea how refreshing it will be, coming home from a really hard day, to see their spouse’s smile and know that they’re able to be completely themselves in a truly safe place.
And isn’t it exciting to think about the sweet moments of sharing the greatest accomplishments in life with the unwavering support of a lifelong best friend?
A wedding is only the beginning. The best parts come after.
Marriage doesn’t suck – or at least it doesn’t have to. It is very much a result of the work, forgiveness, understanding and grace that you pour into it. Joy as a couple comes from a solid foundation, open communication, paying attention to one another and putting your husband or wife above yourself.
So, as a word of encouragement, the next time one of your married friends gives in to this “just you wait” or “good luck” kind of talk (even if it is well-intended), please brush that off and graciously remind them of this:
Every marriage is as different as the individuals in it. Their view is not your view and their marriage will never be exactly like your own.
Please don’t ever allow someone else’s experience to dictate your perspective or expectations for your own marriage.
The more that we feed others the lie that marriage is too difficult to stick with, or that it is destined to be broken, the more we perpetuate the pain that comes with divorce. God created this unity for our joy and His glory. A broken family doesn’t have to be the norm. We have the ability to break this cycle.
Yes, friends, marriage is hard.
But people already know that, don’t they?
I think it’s time to start reminding them that marriage is also really, really good.
If you are in a season of difficulty in your marriage or just want to continue growing together, I strongly encourage you to check out The Love Dare along with any of these helpful books: