Four tall white rocking chairs swayed gently back and forth in the summer breeze on our covered front porch. Sipping coffee and catching up on life, my heart delighted in a visit with my daughter’s childhood friend, newly married.
Tears gathered in her large brown eyes, as she whispered, “I thought I had married my perfect match, but my marriage is so hard. Tell me the story of your marriage, because I desperately need hope that it will get better.”
Deep compassion filled my heart, as I had watched this precious young woman grow up, fall in love, and enter into her life with the sparkle of ideals and romantic dreams. My marriage had begun the same way, but now, 34 years into it, I had grown in perspective and the gentle straining towards God’s grace covering many seasons.
“Precious one, you have had such passion and vision for marriage. I have confidence in the story you will tell, because I know the integrity of your heart. The capacity to live a great story is all there, now you just have to live in to that potential and engage every day in building your marriage.”
Marriage Embodies your Life Story
Marriage is one of the vehicles God designed where He weaves the character of Christ deep into our hearts. But in this surgery of heart, we feel vulnerable, exposed and surprised by our own selfishness, pettiness and anger. Yet, when we catch a vision for the long-term story our lives will tell, then we have energy for the journey towards maturity.
Epic stories are filled with drama, romance, and heroic actions that save the day. You are beginning such a story. As obstacles are surmounted, and difficulties overcome one day at a time, your marriage will grow stronger and reflect the glory of your tale.
Marriage is Heart Work
We seek instant gratification, formulaic answers for every aspect of modern life, and behavioral methods to solve problems in marriage. “How to’s” fill books—how to be submissive, to have a good sex life, to be a better homemaker. Fulfilling laws or rules as a checklist will not provide soul satisfaction, because marriage and the melding of two lives is a mysterious, sacred process unique to each couple.
A strong marriage is really an issue of heart that says,
I want my marriage to work,
I see my marriage as an act of worship to God,
I want my love to grow stronger and more mature,
I want to leave a legacy of faithfulness for to my children.
When the heart issues are engaged, then the behavior follows the direction of giving and grace. Vision for moving forward starts in a heart that desires to please God.
The Art of Life Lived Well Defines your Story
An artistic, engaging novel unfolds through many seasons of life stories and victories won. My story included opposite personalities, family conflict, 8 car wrecks, sick children, miscarriages, financial stress, 17 moves, and four hormonal teenagers. But we grew stronger, by overcoming obstacles one at a time. Our tale is also filled with love growing deeper, joy shared in the community of becoming a close family, the satisfaction of having run the race and finished the course intact. Deep satisfaction in finishing well is beyond what I could have understood as a young idealistic bride.
Mutual heart commitment to build it over a lifetime: practicing loyalty during hard times, choosing love when life is a mix of stresses, affirming our family ideals when culture tests them at every point. Marriage, then, is more about choices made in hard times than in seeking a perfect relationship.
Commitment Builds a Wall of protection
In spite of flaws and immature moments, marriage became our integrity built over a lifetime of choices made, one day at a time. The commitment before God, “till death do us part,” became an anchor that protected our marriage because our commitment to Him and each other, gave us a way forward.
*I have promised God I will be faithful my whole life.
*I will seek to build into the value and growth of our marriage.
*This is a place I will worship God by choosing to become the best marriage partner I can be.
Each chapter became a tale of love that won the day, perseverance that held our children fast through their years, traditions that defined the character and atmosphere of our home.
After 34 years of marriage, I understand that marriage is a work of divine art, a masterpiece, created over a lifetime of practicing faithfulness. The end is even better than the beginning, because it has priceless value.
To read more about cultivating your marriage, motherhood and calling through living a life of deep intention, bold faith and generous love, check out Sally’s new book, Own Your Life, available now in bookstores everywhere and visit Sally’s blog for prizes and giveaways all week long to celebrate its release!Leave a Comment