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Mature and Endure
My wife and I recently celebrated our 18th anniversary. We have finally reached adulthood in our marriage!
Just like a growing child, our marriage has gone through many phases in 18 years: newborn adjustment, taking our first shaky steps, toddler temper tantrums, the “reasonableness” of a 5 year old, the sharp learning curve of a 4th grader, and the identity struggles, legalism, and narcissism of a teenager.
18 years seems like a long time, but as a couple committed to a lifelong endeavor, we have just scratched the surface. More good times, struggles, change, and disappointment are on the way.
Growing Up Is Hard
Growing up doesn’t always feel good in life and marriage, but aren’t you glad you didn’t quit growing when you were two years old? Or thirteen? Eighteen? Unfortunately, too many couples bail on their marriage, either by divorce or embracing a hard heart, well before they have had the chance to mature and endure together.
Seek to engage your spouse and face the trials together with the help of Jesus who is with you and for you.
The Bible Promises Hardship
The Bible promises trouble in life, whether we remain single or get married. Jesus told his disciples “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). In I Cor. 7:28, Paul writes, “those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that,” indicating married couples are not kept from suffering. The adversity a married couple experiences is greater than what a single person encounters. Why? Marriage instantly doubles the chances of experiencing trouble. When family, friends, and children are factored in, the opportunities for hardship occurring begin to increase exponentially.
Marital suffering and disappointment catch many off guard. Instead of unifying, we point the finger at each other, thinking of an exit strategy or plan of self-protection. But we end up protecting us from everyone but ourselves. We expected marriage to make us happy, not force us to deal with the reality of sin and life in a fallen world.
God Promises Himself
As a sinner living with another sinner, more opportunities to sin occur. But so do more opportunities to extend grace. God is faithful when we are faithless, promising he will never leave us or forsake us. We live in his presence. We are invited to grow in our awareness of the presence of God, as he is committed to our transformation and marriage does not hinder him. Instead, it provides a perfect platform for change.
The biblical model of marriage is of two helpful companions walking side by side, watching each other’s back and building trust and unity over decades together. So, don’t let the hardship of marriage divide and define you. Seek to engage your spouse and face the trials together with the help of Jesus who is with you and for you.
Mature together. Don’t be content to remain a marital toddler or teen. Endure together. Don’t quit even if that seems like the only option. God will not quit on you.