In early engagement, when I first began thinking about the idea of “two becoming one” I sort of pictured it like the process of combining chocolate chips with cookie dough. In other words, the following equation:
Something Incredible + Something Incredible =
Something Super-Duper Incredible.
Now when I think of the idea of “two becoming one” I picture it a bit more realistically – like welding two metals together. Here’s the accurate equation:
Something Hard and Stubborn + Something Hard and Stubborn =
Ouch, That Hurts
By “Ouch, that Hurts” I mean whatever metal being welded would feel like if it had feelings. Like “Oh, crap. This burns. I’m melting. I’m dying. Life sucks.”
Yes, there is scientific evidence that proves welding metal would scream those exact words if it could. I’ll create my own Wikipedia page at some point so you can see my source.
But really, that is basically what both Brandon and I secretly screamed in the beginning months of marriage. And honestly…sometimes we still do.
I think most married people probably started out like me in the beginning – we picture something amazing and then the pain catches us by surprise.
Before I go any further with this buzz-kill blog, let me reveal that there is a second part of the equation. It goes like this:
Ouch, That Hurts + Time + Turning it to God =
Something Even More Super-Duper Incredible
And guess what?
Something Even More Super-Duper Incredible >
Something (just) Super Duper Incredible
So fellow young married couples, and maybe even more seasoned couples, let’s drop the panic. The end result of our union can actually be more awesome than maybe what we originally envisioned marriage to be.
It just takes a longer route to get there. And it definitely isn’t painless.
What do I mean by “Ouch, that hurts”?
I mean that just like metal that is being melted to fit with another metal, marriage breaks down areas of your life that have never been broken down before. And that process is painful.
It hurts when you realize that you can’t spend your time the way you used to and compromises have to be made.
It’s hurts when you are at the end of a bad day at work but you are expected to come home and love someone else when you just want to be left alone.
It hurts when your spouse has done something to offend you, and you are expected to forgive them.
It hurts when you see things in your spouse that scare you, but you remember you made a promise to be committed to them for the rest of your life.
It hurts when you want love and attention from your spouse that he/she isn’t able to give you in that moment or chooses not to.
It hurts when you have to admit you are wrong.
Two becoming one is not chocolate chips and cookie dough.
So is marriage even worth it?
That is, if your definition of “worth it” is to end your life more holy than it started. If that’s true, then while there is definitely pain ahead, there is also growth and A LOT of joy.
Not a “he gives me butterflies” joy. That’s not real joy- that’s just happy feelings.
And butterflies go away pretty soon after the honeymoon when you fall in the toilet in the middle of the night because your sweet husband forgets to put the toilet seat down. Or you find his gym socks on the kitchen table. Or he keeps trying to get the “sore” out of his nostril…
Oops, I think I’m ranting…
Anyways, that’s not joy.
I’m talking about the “becoming less selfish, more giving, and more like Christ” kind of joy.
And THAT is a fulfilling joy.
But you don’t get there over night. In fact, the ironic thing is you never get there completely. But when you follow the entire second equation, remembering the process takes time and involves turning your pain to God, you constantly get closer.
You learn what it means to love your spouse when he leaves the toilet seat up or she clogs the shower drain with her hair.
You learn how to show grace when your spouse says something hurtful.
You learn how to serve your spouse when you’re tired.
You learn how to be fulfilled in the love of Christ despite the amount of attention he/she gives you.
And despite the hard, painful moments, it’s one joyful, fulfilling life.
So pick your head up, young married couples. Just like metals, you have to be melted before you are completely fused together.
But after the heat cools the finished product is unbreakable.
Chocolate chip cookies taste good, but as time passes they get stale.
A marriage submitted to God can only get better.
Give it time, give it to God, and embrace the melting process.
Question: Married readers- did you once have a false vision of marriage? What made it change? Single readers – do you find that most marriages are portrayed as easy or difficult? Share your thoughts below!
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This blog was published on Crosswalk.com here.