The more life experience you gain the more you come to understand that love isn’t quite like what’s portrayed in your typical Nicholas Sparks movie.
This last week my husband and I spent the week hosting a group of 28 people on our houseboat down at Lake Powell. During the trip one night we sat around our fire pit on one of the upper decks talking with some of the more newly married couples on the trip about how different actual married life is from the romanticized vision we thought it would be. Don’t misunderstand – no one was saying they didn’t find marriage to be wonderful, we just all acknowledged how different it is from the expectations you had before you got married.
One comment I shared was that there is nothing in life that will force you to change and grow quite like marriage will. Learning to coexist with another human being, especially someone of the opposite sex, is a challenge. We think differently, we process emotions differently, we express ourselves differently, we cope with things differently…and that’s just the beginning of the list…we have different upbringings, different habits, different likes and dislikes, different pet peeves…and again, that’s just scratching the surface. But because we fell in love at one point and chose to commit our lives to each other we are now connected in a way that says we promise to figure it out – together.
But we should never take the fact we are committed for granted. Having a good marriage requires us to make a daily decision to love the other person. We have to make a daily decision to be more humble, more caring, more selfless, more patient. We have to make a daily decision to become more self-aware of our own faults and weaknesses so we can work on correcting those rather than trying to pick apart or fix our partner. We have to make a daily decision to do small and simple acts of service for our partner will show them how much we value them.
In real life and love there isn’t some big romantic build up to a fated kiss out in the rain that then makes everything become magical from that moment forward. In real life and marriage there is toothpaste lids left off, toilet seats left up, disagreements over what temperature to keep the house at, and proper parenting styles, and frustrations over finances…and that’s just the small stuff… that is real marriage…. And as unromantic as that might sound, what’s truly magical about marriage is knowing that there is that one person who has agreed to be totally committed to you and you have agreed to be totally committed to them and knowing that the two of you are fully committed to waking up every day deciding you will love each other that day and you will stand side by side and weather whatever storms come your way…together…every day…for the rest of time…
~Amy Rees Anderson