These may seem like random thoughts, but they do really all come back to what it means to be married; trust me.
I've been quite distressed the last twenty-four hours since we received the message from our friend that his wife had left. They have had lots of ups and downs the last several years, but I've continued to believe that God would work a miracle there. He may still work a miracle, but it is harder to believe today. And it makes me so sad. One of her complaints and reasons for leaving was that he spends time doing things with their kids that she does not enjoy, so she is left at home. And that got me to thinking about being married and spending time together. Do we have to enjoy the activity to spend time with our spouse? I don't think so. I have spent countless hours at car shows
and air shows
neither of which I thoroughly enjoy but German does, so I go (and often even enjoy myself). He has tagged along to more than one art museum or quilt show--definitely not his cup of tea but he makes a genuine effort to feign interest while we are there. We joke about the fact that early in our marriage we made a deal--I'd go to a NASCAR race with him if he would go to a symphony with me. He slept through the awesome performance of the symphony. I stood in my chair and screamed for 3 hours straight and became a huge race fan. Needless to say, now we just go to the races, lol. But the bottom line is that we make an effort to share each other's passions, at least from time to time.
This morning I was catching up on my blog reading and came across Tracey's entry at Laced for Grace. There she was illustrating my point--going to her husband's company event even if it really wasn't her favorite thing to do. I had to laugh. I love to dress up and get very few opportunities. My husband would live in jeans if it was allowed. But last weekend was his team event and he had planned a dress up affair for the team and spouses because "every now and then we need to give our wives a chance to dress up." It was a brilliant evening. And it was a first for this team (spouses are never invited). It was a huge success. And it was nice to dress up. (And just between us, I think he liked having an excuse to wear a tux.)
So I think that part of the secret of being married is in how we choose to share each other's lives. This morning I watched a video of a friend who renewed her wedding vows yesterday on her Silver Wedding Anniversary. The renewal celebration was carefully planned by Anne. The festivities were taking place in Las Vegas. The minister who performed the ceremony made the comment that he did not know Anne and her husband, but he knew a lot about them. He said, for instance, he knew that they made no promises to one another twenty-five years ago because it is too easy to break promises. Instead, he said, he knew they made a commitment to one another because that is the only way you make it to 25 years--by committing to one another. It's true. My friends mentioned at the start of this post stood before friends and a minister and made some promises--but I'm not sure they both truly committed to one another. The course of their marriage says otherwise. Separation and divorce have always been kept as an option. And that makes me so sad for them. German and I have had some difficult times in the eleven years we have been married, but I can honestly say that separtion has never been an option. We took that card off the table before we ever started and said that we were committing to making this work. And by the grace of God we have been able to do that.
As I look at friends who are separating I am sad. As I look at Anne and her husband I am joyful and hopeful. It is possible to make a marriage work. I thank God that He gave me a husband that loves me and is committed to me. But mostly I thank God that He is the third strand in this marriage that holds it together. Some days I just need to be reminded of that. Maybe, you needed the reminder as well.