According to Weddingwire June is the third most popular month for weddings in the past two years. I just attended the wedding of one of my nephews in a beautiful mid-west, quaint farm setting. During one of the dances, the DJ asked couples to keep dancing if they had been married for a specific number of years. He kept going until one couple remained on the dance floor. It just so happened to be my parents, the grandparents of the groom, left alone, swaying to the music. My parents have been married fifty-eight years! The DJ asked my nephew and his new bride to accompany my parents in the center of the dance floor. He then proceeded to ask my parents what advice they had for the newly married couple to get them to fifty -eight years of wedded bliss. My mom answered first, “Just hang in there!” My dad, the quiet guy he is agreed.
This past winter, I participated in a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study where we studied Karen Ehman’s book, “Keep Showing Up, How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy”. Chapter One starts out, “Why is this so hard? I can’t do this anymore! I cried out to God as I sat crossed-legged on the bedroom floor of our very first apartment, my eyes stingy with hot, salty tears”
Now, those of you reading this who know me well, and those of you who don’t are going to find out super quick, I won’t be giving you advice on marital bliss. You see, I have sat feeling exactly like Karen Ehman not once, or twice, but well I am not proud to say three times. She is exactly right. Marriage isn’t easy. You have to, as my mom said to my nephew, “just hang in there”, and as Karen says, “Keep Showing Up”.
We find the “Mr. or Mrs. right”, fall in love, and have expectations of the “perfect” life together. Our “happily ever after”. Then just like that, you are living with who? Who is this person who doesn’t pick up after themselves, makes snide comments, doesn’t appreciate your cooking, forgets your birthday, and argues with you. What? A disagreement? We never had a single tiff while we were dating! You thought getting married and living with the person of your dreams was going to be, well… dreamy, not a nightmare on some days.
Now, don’t get me wrong, what can be better than traveling, laughing, sharing in a hobby or a mutually loved cause with the one you love. But we do, and I speak from my own experience here, have to manage our expectations of what it really means to say “I do” in front of God and our friends and families. It means it isn’t going to be easy everyday and we are going to need Jesus to help us to “Keep Showing Up.” (And the wise words of Karen Ehman!)
My first two marriages, I didn’t keep showing up. I quit showing up on my first marriage due to abuse and for my safety I needed to leave. My second marriage ended sadly because of addiction and because I had turned away, forgetting about God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.
Don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t go into my other marriages wanting or thinking they were going to end in divorce, not at all. I grew up in a household with exemplary examples of wedded couples who kept showing up for each other through thick and thin. Both sets of my grandparents had been married well over fifty years and as I mentioned, my parents have been married fifty-eight years. I know for a fact, it hasn’t been and wasn’t always wedded bliss for any of them, but they kept showing up for each other. Through The Great Depression, various wars (at home and abroad), sickness, loss of jobs, loss of children, life. Hard, messy, tough, life. The married couples in my life kept showing up, kept loving, kept honoring, kept serving, and kept praying for one another. Those are the examples I had and had intended to follow.
Today, I truly believe that God broke many chains and I am free from so many lies of the evil one. He brought this amazing, some days sandpaperish man (When you read Karen’s book Chapter 2 tells you all about the “Sandpaper Spouse”!) into my life for me to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of my life! Today I don’t believe and react to the lies I was once listening to. As John 8:44 reminds us, “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Friend, we don’t have to listen to the lies Satan tells us about our marriages and our spouses. The simple truth is, some days it is hard to see this I get it, but our spouses are not the enemy. Satan loves to spin webs of lies, its his job and it is our job not to get tangled and stuck in them. (I promised I wouldn’t give marriage advice, I learned all this from the book, emoji happy face!)
If you are crazy in love with your spouse, which I pray you are and if you are not I will pray for things to change in your relationship, then “Keep Showing Up” is a must have tool to add to your marriage tool kit. A few others I have in mine now and use constantly are my bible (several versions) and another wonderful book by Sharon Jaynes “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”. Sharon shares how to use scripture to pray for your husband literally from head to toe!
I am a super sap when it comes to weddings. I will be the first to admit I quickly get caught up in all the sparkle, romance, pomp and circumstance, and cake of course! And I don’t think any of that is a bad thing as long as we as family and friends of the bride and groom continue to stand by their sides through all the ups and downs life is going to throw their way, We don’t need to be a bunch of Debbie Downers when called upon as Christians to share marital advice with young couples. We need to be honest with them and lead them to Jesus when life starts to turn the wedded bliss in a wedded blister!
I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to Keep Showing Up in your marriage. When you comment in the blog today you will be signed up to win a copy of Karen’s book “Keep Showing Up” and Sharon Jaynes’ book “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.
Can’t wait to hear from you!
In the Meantime,
Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!