The One Word That Should Define Your Marriage

Thirteen years ago today, I married my quasi-high school sweetheart (there’s a long story that goes with that title). We had a smallish wedding on a tight budget, but I was never the kind of girl to be too concerned about the number of guests or number of dollars I’d be allotted for my wedding.

Honestly, I found all the planning and choices to be overwhelming. Invitations, flowers, bridal parties, wedding cake, grooms cake (we have to get two cakes?!), out of town guests, hotel reservations, photographer, videographer – it was all a bit too complicated for me. I suppose I just wanted to be married without actually having to get married, but I had some sort of understanding that the wedding itself (and all the busy-ness that went along with it) was a necessary part of the experience.

When it came right down to the details of the day, I loved my dress, but had no great care for finding the perfect dress. The cake was delicious, but I generally find most cakes to be delicious just by their very nature. My bouquet was beautiful, but I don’t even remember the type of flowers I held.

The wedding itself was a bigger event to our loved ones than it was to Chris and I. More than anything, I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable with the attention that was doted on me on my "big day."  

In the grand scheme of things, my husband and I would face much bigger days together than the day we wed.

The birth of our first child, now that was a big day.

The first big, BIG (I’m talking huge) fight we had - where I believed, if even for just a fraction of a second, that it would be easier to just walk away - that was a much bigger day, too.

The day we walked into Texas Children’s Hospital with our second-born for an appointment with a pediatric oncologist, another big day.

Yes, in the grand-scheme of “big days" those days made our wedding day look like a cake walk.

If the apex of our life as husband and wife actually fell on the day we were married, then the story would have ended as quickly as it had begun. Chris and I understood this going into it.

The one word that should define your marriage...

For us, the wedding itself never actually carried the weight of significance that the day-to-day toil of pursing the heart of the person we married that day did.

The wedding was an event. Every day after has been our life.

And life has a way of happening, doesn’t it? No matter what significance or insignificance you place upon it, life has a way of pulling you along.

So it goes that an entire life is filled with single days. Those days are built upon hours, those hours are built upon minutes, and those minutes are built upon seconds. And it is in those tiny increments of time that real life occurs. It is in those tiny increments of time that you make the little choices that lead to either life or death in the context of a marriage. You see, life isn’t about big choices, but about small ones. And you make a million small choices each day. Each choice builds upon the next and within each choice lies the decision (whether conscious or unconscious) to either pursue the man I married or push him away.

And listen, I’ve done my fair share of both.

I’ve ran hard and fast after this man’s heart and I’ve turned away and pushed away and pulled away.

I’ve idolized this man and I’ve demonized this man.

I’ve held him near and I’ve held my ground.

People will tell you that marriage is about all sorts things – about love, commitment, faithfulness, dedication, compromise – what have you. And although all of that may be true in part, when I step back to look at what I’ve come to know about marriage in the admittedly meager time I’ve been a part of it, it seems to me that more than anything else, marriage is about pursuit.

A relentless pursuit of the person you committed your life to “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.”

Not merely an existence alongside the other, but an intentional pursuit of this person in spite of what you may find. And that’s the key, that no matter what you may find, you keep pursuing the true heart of this person.  Why?

Because that is what God does for us.

God recklessly pursues us in spite of all the broken mess which that pursuit reveals.

If there’s one thing marriage undoubtedly does it is to reveal your brokenness.  Since the day we walked down the aisle, there’s not one insecurity, fear, or failure that this man of mine hasn’t uncovered in me.  

The story of our marriage has been one of God revealing to us the truth about who we are (in regards to ourselves and in regards to each other).  And after 13 years I hazard to say that just about everything has been revealed. That’s a tough pill to swallow for girl who’s been dead-set on perfection her whole life.  Ah, yes, the little lie of perfection dies hard and fast in the type of environment that marriage provides.

And although we may have lost the illusion of perfection that we once carried, Chris and I have found something far more beautiful and genuine in it’s place – we have found security. Security is found when another person knows the truth of your brokenness, but loves you anyway. This is what God offers us, and in our marriage, this is what we offer each other – an abiding love rooted in the security of knowing the truth about each other and loving each other anyway.

I have loved you with an everlasting love.  

Jeremiah 31:3


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