It Will Last

Pimpin’ ain’t easy.  I have no first hand knowledge of the veracity of this statement, it is just what I’ve heard.  Being a pimp was not one of the career choices presented to me during my formative years.  Even if it was, I probably would not have chosen that particular career.  I’m not good at slapping people around.  And I don’t have any canes.  Or purple suits.  Or diamond encrusted teeth.

While I am unsure on whether being a pimp is or isn’t easy, I know something far more important, something that my mom made sure I knew in her own special way:  marriage ain’t easy.  My mom has an interesting way with words; I have previously documented a few examples.  But the way that she informed me of the difficulties of marriage sticks out above the rest.

My wife and I dated a little less than 2 months before we decided to wed and our wedding took place about 5 months after we started dating.  I believe that it was the right thing to do.  Looking back on it, though, I can see why some would think that we got married too soon.  The NBA playoffs last longer than 5 months, don’t they?  With the passing of time, I can see now why she was so agitated.  It was much harder to see it then.  I wanted encouragement; what she offered was a few sobering words.  I am thankful now.  I wasn’t very thankful then.

I remember sitting down with my parents in their living room.  I remember the words fumbling out of my mouth, my mind willing them out despite the nervousness that tried to choke them back in.  I remember their somewhat blank expressions.  And I remember what my mom said before she stood up and walked out of the room.

“Well….I hope it will last.”

She wasn’t real happy and now I can see why.  I also appreciate those words now far more than I ever thought that I would.  With those few words, my love-struck eyes were confronted with the harsh reality that many marriages don’t last, that the notion of romantic love would not be enough to sustain us through the tough times that would surely lie ahead.  Silly arguments give rise to damaging words, damaging words give rise to bitter souls, bitter souls drift apart over time.  Marriage ain’t easy.

I tell the story of my mother’s words to every young couple that asks me to perform their marriage ceremony for them.  This is usually not necessary for the older people who I “marry.”  It is the younger ones that still have an infantile view of love, normally.  They often view love as an emotion, a reaction that they have toward each other.  In truth, real love is much more than this.  It involves commitment, will-power, compromise, collaboration.  Marital love is choosing to set your affections on another person and taking the necessary steps to make sure that those affections remain without regard to whatever else rises up around you.

So far, my marriage has lasted.  Through disagreements and disturbances, through tears and great joy, through longing for a child to now having five–it has lasted.  In spite of our failures, in spite of our differences, in spite of us not hitting all the right notes–it has lasted.  By God’s amazing grace, through God’s awesome strength, in God’s gentle embrace–it has lasted.

If your marriage has endured, join me in giving thanks to God.  If your marriage crumbled, I encourage you to do the same.  He brought you through.  He still cares for you.  Your marriage may have failed, but His love for you never has.

So far, my marriage has lasted.  This is good.  Knowing that God’s love for me will last even if my wife’s love for me doesn’t is even better.  When it comes to God and his love for us, hoping is unnecessary.  It will last.

 (What advice did you receive about marriage?  What advice would you like to give?  Share away!)

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27 thoughts on “It Will Last

  1. The night before my wedding my mother told Mike “I hope you know what you’re doing. Marrying her may be the biggest mistake you will ever make.” We’ve been married 35 years. Christ has always lived in our home and 95% of the time He has always been the center of our home. Your marriage will last. You both love the Lord and seek to serve Him. That’s all that is important.

  2. I say this as a divorcee (that makes me sound old), but I was told (and ignored) to trust and forgive, daily. So many of our marital problems would have been overcome if only I had trusted him to look out for my best interest and forgiven him when he wasn’t. If he had trusted that I cared for him more than my pride or ambition, and forgiven me when I let pride or ambition get in the way…

  3. Thanks for writing this, I appreciate your transparency.

    Although I’ve only been married less than 6 years, I can echo those same feelings: it ain’t easy. We have had our ups (many) and downs (many) and I’m grateful that God has brought us through, and closer together, it all.

    I agree – I’ve learned that sometimes it takes being intentional, vulnerable, and realizing that my wife is not the enemy.

  4. Matt, as always I enjoy your gift of writing. It is interesting that you posted this article the week of our wedding anniversary. In the words of a man I know when asked how long he had been married, he said, “It’s too soon to brag and ‘way too late to complain.” Forty years for us on Sunday, the 30th.

  5. This post makes you sound wise. 😉

    For myself, I would have much-preferred your mother’s advice to mine. She went from wondering if I was gay (I was painfully shy & didn’t date), to trying to enlist my now father-in-law’s aid in stopping my marriage. Yes, we young & naïve, but were 20 & 21, respectively, and had been together over two years. I think we knew what we wanted. Like you, we didn’t know how hard it would be, but facts are facts: we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. And thanks be to God for getting us through.

    I was kidding above: you are wise beyond your years.

  6. Indeed, many youngsters (like my fellow college-mates) view love as simply an emotion. My high school sweetheart and I have been together for over four years now, and we plan on marrying after we graduate in May 2012. It’s always good to hear the marriage testimony from someone in a great, God-centered marriage. Thanks for the encouragement, Matt.

  7. Two words….Yes dear!

    Just kidding.

    I have been married to the love of my life for 5 years in June and have loved every minute of it.

    Best advice would be to live to out-give each other, That way you will strive to do the most you can for the love of your life while here on Earth! Make your spouse feel like they are the most special person in the entire world.

    Some more great advice: Pray together! My wife and I pray together before bed. Nothing long and drawn out, but we pick three things to pray over and pray for those things. At the end of a long day we make sure that we do this. even if we are tired the three things are more easily done than running down a long exhaustive prayer list..

  8. This was great. My brother is getting married on Saturday and I’ve been working on a do and don’t post for him for Friday. The best advice I was told was not to “turtle” her. You know, where you fart under the cover and pull it over her head.

  9. Hey Matt, thanks for checking out my blog. You are pretty witty man. My wife and I share a similar story. We met, were engaged 10 weeks later and were married within 7 months of our first date. Due to God’s grace I can confidently say “so far so good”

  10. Very good post.

    Marriage is both the greatest thing in the world and also the hardest thing in the world. Merging two people with differences and egos is really a recipe for some turf wars.

    I’ve been married 10 years and I dated my wife 2 years before getting engaged and 1 year before marriage. I haven’t been the same since. 🙂

    Only dated 2 months? and 5 after that? What were you thinking? I’m glad you are making it work though. With God all things are possible.

  11. David and I met in June and married in August.I has lasted 42 years this August.It has been some of the happiest years of our lives. Yet it has been some of the most trying years of our lives,but we made vows before God that through good times and bad times we would still love each other.He has blessed the keeping of those vows with 2 wonderful children who along with their spouses are serving Him and 2 precious grandchildren who have given their lives to him.Praise God!!! No pimps in this family.

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