When you stand at the altar on your wedding day, life is beautiful and there is no thought that life can ever or will ever go wrong. You say “I Do” with confidence and assurance that you know what you are getting into and no matter what, this statement is easy. You move on to the honeymoon yet before you know it, the honeymoon is over.
Marriage is not without its problems and challenges. No one has a perfect marriage because life isn’t perfect and because perfect people do not exist!
Our honeymoon has many memories for us. We had really good times. We enjoyed so much of it. However, the beginning of the signs of future trouble in my health journey also began. While we were enjoying our time away, getting to build a strong foundation on our journey to oneness, we were also getting phone calls to return home because my grandmother was dying. So, joy and pain coexisted at the same time in the starting days of our marriage and this has truly been the way that we have navigated love in our relationship. There has always been some outside force that has been extremely challenging to navigate as we have walked together in marriage.
Marriage is not without its problems and challenges. No one has a perfect marriage because life isn’t perfect and because perfect people do not exist! I do not know what story is being written in your journey of marriage, but I do know that many wonder how do I keep saying I do or what do I need to keep saying I do to, in order to have a healthy marriage, especially when challenges come.
Here are some “I Do’s” that I choose to commit to everyday.
- I do hold on to that third strand even if it is by a thread. Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us that as one you may be overpowered and as two you have some defense but three – you are not quickly broken. When you hold on to God and let him hold on to you, no matter what you face and go through, keeping God at the centre and letting him be involved means you will not easily or quickly break.
- I do practise kindness and forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us that Christ forgave us and as we have been forgiven, we are to extend it with kindness and tenderness. Kindness goes a long way in disagreements or unmet expectations. Hearts are more tender and ears more able to listen when problems are approached with a measure of kindness. Forgiving one another creates safety and security. It waters love. When we love deeply it helps us forgive and covers each other’s mistakes. Proverbs 10:12 says that love covers offenses. I do choose love. I do choose forgiveness. I have made this choice even before it is needed, so that I can more easily make it when it is needed. There is always a when. 1 Peter 4:8 says above all-love-because only love covers a multitude of sins.
- I do choose gratitude. I focus on what is good and what I do have. I focus on the good in my husband and the good in our relationship. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are instructed that giving thanks in everything is the will of God in Christ Jesus. God knows that to be intentionally grateful and having a heat of thanks will bring health to our spiritual and relational lives. There is no room for complaining and bitterness where thanksgiving resides.
- I do pray continually. In the same Thessalonians passage we are told to pray continually. We are told to rejoice, pray and give thanks. There is so much power in prayer. When we approach prayer with joy, we have a heart of expectation that God is going to hear and answer.
There have been too many, really hard times that we have had to face. The situations would have been harder had I tried to go through them without God. If I had forgotten forgiveness, if my attitude had been one of complaining, if there was no thanksgiving, if I stopped praying, there would be no progress or perspective. I would be robbing our relationship of strength and happiness. I would be missing out on God’s blessing. I still say I do daily because God says ‘I do’: I do have all you need. I do have the answers. I do love you. I will be with you! And, because I do love my husband. I am blessed by the gift of him.