When I was only 14 my great grandmother gave me the greatest piece of advice I ever received about marriage. She said, "You don't start being married until you threaten to go home and he threatens to let you. Then you settle in." From that I learned that it's tough, but that it's also doable. I also learned that a sense of humor about it all never hurt either.
Nowadays, we have many silly ideas about marriage. We think that it is going to fulfill us, complete us, make us happy, and if it doesn't we're free to go. It may surprise you to learn marriage isn't designed for fulfillment. Marriage is a vocation, not a hobby or a real life version of a feel good summer movie.
Marriage is designed to tear down all your imperfections and build you into a new being: a married person. Marriage was meant to completely transform your heart from its self centered, self serving existence into a heart who loves and serves Christ first and Christ completely via service to a spouse and then via service to the children that come of the union.
We modern thinkers have forgotten that heart surgery always hurts. Always.
The good news is that you can and will find all that fulfillment and happiness you are looking for. The bad news is that you won't find that person who meets your every need and completes you in your spouse. You'll find that in the Eucharist Lord and in prayer and nowhere else.
What you will find in your spouse is a flawed human person. If this person is willing to hold your hand when you get that 3 a.m. phone call (those are never good) or who will scrape the ice off your windshield each and every winter, you've got something pretty good. So what if the trash never makes it to the curb on time on trash day?
If you take your marriage as the gift that it is rather than the ideal that you want, you just might discover you have something everyone else is longing for: a person committed to a life with you. You are loved and you love. That in itself is a miracle. The vows you took ensure that two flawed people can manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat day after day. That's really the magic of a life long marriage: the ancient art of never ever stopping being married.
My advice might not be as good as my great grandmother's, but it's this: don't expect so much from your marriage. Expect the best from God and make room for all the rest. You're a flawed person married to another flawed person. This is a person you can love and honor and serve all the days of your life because you love God so much that you'll keep your promise to Him through him.
This has been a Wifey Wednesday post. For an even wifier Wednesday click on over to To Love Honor and Vacuum!