What really happens in a marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Yesterday, my wife and I were talking about marriage with a couple that has been married over 30 years and them sharing about how sometimes some difficulties are common. I also have a friend who is about to get married. This leads me to thinking about some realities that take place in marriage.
If you ever read a fairy tale, one of the biggest myths you will read is “And they lived happily ever after.” As I think C.S. Lewis said, Prince Charming sometimes had morning breath. You might have joy, but a feeling of happiness will not last forever.
Ultimately, this is a good thing. No one could have such a feeling last forever. It would make it impossible to do anything at all. Picture how it was if you’re married when you first met the love of your life and knew you wanted to be with them forever. When I came home from mine and Allie’s first night, my roommate was convinced that a wedding chapel would have to be booked soon and our love for each other was openly displayed all over the internet.
Those feelings do fade, and again, that’s not bad. They get replaced with something deeper. Many times, you have a great love for your spouse that you can feel. Sometimes, they honestly get on your nerves and you’re extremely irritated with them. Marriage is made in heaven, but so are thunder and lightning.
So what are some realities?
First, let’s go back to that Prince Charming bit. Not only will he have morning breath, but he will burp and make many other noises that are very unpleasant to the wife. She could be tempted to smother him at night with a pillow if he happens to snore loudly.
Second, you will get into arguments. It happens. These are usually over sex, money, and in-laws. Take money. Normally in a marriage. One is a spender and one is a saver. Those two often clash. With sex, one person usually has a higher drive than others. Pastor Mark Gungor gave a talk once about that and said “Some of you guys are married to high drive wives. They can’t get enough. To all you men like that, I speak on behalf of all other men when I say ‘We hate you.’ ”
If you go into marriage thinking you’re automatically going to be having sex constantly and walking around naked all the time, you will be disappointed. That won’t even happen on the honeymoon. After all, guys especially need some time to recharge.
Many disagreements will be over stupid stuff. It will be about how toilet paper goes on the roll or how you squeeze the toothpaste tube or other mundane things. There will be disagreements on how the dishes should be loaded in the dishwasher and who does what chore. There will also be mistaken assumptions as each person comes from a household and they presume for the most part that that is normal. Maybe someone grew up in a family where Mom did everything and refused help. A husband like that is going to presume his wife does everything. Suppose she grew up in a household where both worked together. She will think such a man is being rude. Unspoken assumptions do a lot of damage if not realized.
I said feelings will fade. This can give an illusion when someone seems to come along who can spark new feelings again. Has the love faded? No. This is more common than people realize. Guys, especially, can generally find it very easy to get attracted to other women. Some men have said that marriage actually made that more of a temptation, perhaps especially if you’re a Christian man who saved yourself for marriage, liked what you got, and then wonder about other women.
So in this case, marriage does take hard work. One has to consistently cultivate their relationship. If the grass on the other side of the fence looks greener, take care of your own lawn better.
This sounds negative, but let’s get another reality.
It’s worth it.
It really is.
Benefits are nice. Getting to experience sex is something awesome and having someone to sleep next to at night is a gift, but overall, it’s more a lifetime of having someone you can share hopes and dreams and sorrows and pains with. It’s simple joys of sharing meals together and watching Netflix together in the evening. It’s driving together and holding hands. It’s a deep commitment that transcends temporary feelings and emotions. That is true love. Love is not doing good when you feel like it. Love is doing good even if you feel annoyance and such at the time.
Marriage is worth it.