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!)