Like all marriages, my marriage has its ups and downs. There are times when we feel very passionate about each other, everything seems to be going well, I feel like we have hit our groove. Then there are times that things are lackluster at best. Maybe we hit a lull, maybe we fight more than usual, maybe life just gets busy and it all starts to get in between us. For whatever reason, I have been feeling that we were in a lull and I made a plan to make it better.
I spent a couple of days really laying it on thick. I was eager to compliment, eager to hear about his job or whatever else was interesting him that day, eager to spend time watching shows he likes, even if they weren’t my favorite. I was even eager to make out as often as he wanted (something that I honestly do not like to do, I know, bad wife). And after the 3 or 4 days of really putting myself out there, you know what happened? Nothing!
He didn’t all of a sudden start massaging my feet without me asking, he didn’t say, “oh hun, we can watch a chick flick, I don’t mind,” he didn’t surprise me with an impromptu date night, he didn’t change anything. Wait, I’m wrong, he did do something, he canceled a date we had planned for a few weeks for a meeting that he could have turned down or rescheduled. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy.
A couple days later, I was sitting on my friends back porch, drinking some wine and engaging in some good old fashion girl talk and I started complaining. I told her all of the things that I did for Rusty, all of the changes that I made to my attitude, and how all I got in return was a canceled date night. She could have said, “yeah, husbands suck,” its honestly what I was hoping she would say, but she didn’t.
Because she loves me, and wants nothing more that for me to be happily married for the rest of my life, she disagreed with me. (What?! Sometimes disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean you hate them? It actually means you love them?) What she said was, “when ever my husband is getting on my nerves, I ask Jesus to help me love him the way He loves him.” Mind blown. What she was saying, in fewer words is this, “you vowed to love your husband, the way Jesus loves you, the way Jesus loves him, the way Jesus loves all of us, unconditionally.”
At this point, I could have been annoyed, I could have brushed off her comment and moved on to a different topic, I could have complained about her and my husband to someone else and got the answer I wanted, but I didn’t. Instead, I said, “you are right.” It sure is easier said than done, but marriage isn’t an if/then contract, it is a covenant that I made, promising to love no matter what the circumstance.
So, unless your vows went something like this,
“I, Jessica, take thee Rusty, to have and to hold, as long as you massage my feet. For richer or poorer, as long as you don’t make less money than you are right now and as long as you never tell me I am spending too much on shoes. Through sickness and in health, as long as you don’t complain too much when you get sick, because that is fricken annoying. For as long as we both shall live, and as long as you don’t gain too much weight, and as long as you change at least half of the diapers, and as long as I never have to take out the trash, and as long as you don’t lose your high paying job, and as long as you don’t do too many things wrong, and as long as I always feel happy.”
we need to stop acting like they did. It’s no wonder a majority of married couples jump ship, there is no way anyone could be satisfied in an if/than contract for the rest of their lives. Who could ever live up to that? Even businesses change and grow their contracts over time. Married couples make vows once and those never change because it isn’t a contract, its a statement. I take you as my lawfully wedded husband/wife. Period.
Wait. Before people start saying, “yeah, but what about this and what about that,” I want to say, I know. I know there are exceptions, but lets not act like the exception is the rule. There are horrible husbands out there that abuse their wives physically or verbally, but more than likely, your husband doesn’t. Being cold or argumentative or even slightly controlling, isn’t abusive. You knew the man you were going to marry. You might have though marriage would change him and found out it wouldn’t, but all the same, you chose him and made vows for unconditional love, and now you need to keep up your end of the deal, unconditionally and so do I.
If I’m being perfectly honest with myself, my husband does a lot for me. Not only is he the sole bread winner of our family, he comes home and regularly does the dishes, takes the kids to the playground to give me a break, and helps me clean up the house. We always compromise on shows to watch and he never tells me no if I ask for a foot massage. And, that is all just the tip of the iceberg of what he does for me in our marriage. I really need to stop taking all that he does for granted and I suspect that might be the same for a lot of married women.
So together, lets stop doing this whole, “I’m not getting what I want out of this marriage, so I’m not going to give you what you want,” thing and start treating our marriage as what it is, a covenant, a bond for life, not a contract with an escape clause.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.