after the credits roll

One of the things that people remember the most about Hubby and me after meeting us is our “love story.” People ask about it all the time.  I’ll have folks come down to visit for the first time and say, “I heard about your guys’ story. Can you please tell me?”  And they don’t just want the rushed version…they want the long version.  The detailed version.  The storybook version.

And while it probably isn’t the best love story there ever was, I do think that it could be made into one of those Nicolas Spark’s type romance movies, and people would pay money to see it.

It’s filled with all the highs and lows of those “great novelas.”  There is passion, uncertainty, long distance, hand-written love letters, moments of “will they or won’t they,” surprise visits, late night conversations.  It evened climaxed with a surprise proposal that took some serious planning and arranging. 

The movie would have ended with two weddings, one in the states with my family and friends and one in Guatemala with his.  The credits would have rolled as I came in on the horse-drawn carriage. 

Yes, that really happened.

It’s got all the magic of something special. 

And it was. 

But then something happened after the credits rolled.

Real life set in. 

And like most movies, you don’t see a lot of the real life stuff in it.  You see the highs and maybe even the lows, but you don’t see much of the ordinary.

Unfortunately, in my case, my story happened mostly through long distance so it was almost like a movie in that I really only lived the highs and lows of it all.  I wasn’t in any way prepared for the ordinary in marriage.

Hubby and I had our first fight on our honeymoon. 

I cried like someone was dying.

Because here’s the thing I didn’t know and nobody ever took the time to tell me.

Marriage isn’t easy.  Its really hard and it ain’t all that pretty some days. 

I naively thought that because I did all the “right” things prior to get married that that meant my marriage was going to stand the test of time with flying colors.  We loved Jesus.  We were virgins.  We didn’t date around much.  We even saved our first sacred kisses for our weddings.  We were serving orphans for crying out loud!  Hello!  We were supposed to do this marriage thing like bosses.

Have y’all read the book Fit To be Tied by Bill Hybels?

I had to read it in my Christian Faith and Life class.  I HATED it.  I thought it was the worst book on marriage I had ever read.  How could any couple that loved Jesus and loved each other that much have so many freakin’ problems in their marriage. It couldn’t possibly be reflective of what MY marriage was going to look like someday. [Insert sneaky laugh]

I am pretty sure I could have written a very similar book and I am only almost 8 years into my marriage.

I love my husband. I love him more than I ever thought I could possibly love another human being on this earth.   I miss him when we are apart, and I truly do still get butterflies in my stomach when he unexpectedly reaches for my hand or pulls me in for a hug.  His face is the one I want to always wake up next to.


I don’t always like being married to him. 

We argue.  We are too passive aggressive.  We want our own way too many times. 

I think he is annoying.

He thinks I am crazy.

It’s just not always that pretty folks.

Because I don’t care how great the love story is, the credits are always going to roll at some point.  And when they do, real life sets in.  The ordinary happens.  Sure there will still be highs and lows…moments of passion and peril.  It’s breathtaking and wonderful.

But at some point you have to accept it for what it is: Two, imperfect people, trying to CHOOSE to love each other, FIGHT for each other, and never GIVE UP on each other, while living in a very imperfect and often unkind world. 

There is no “You complete me.”  There is no jumping up on a moving Ferris wheel to declare your love.  There is no riding off into the sunset.

Its beautiful and its ugly.  It’s high and its low.  It’s incredibly unexpected and very ordinary.  It’s fun and it’s hard work. 

You will cry, and you will laugh.  You will dance, and you will sit out.  You will love it and you will even at times hate it. 

I think so many times we build up marriage and put it on an altar.  We treat it like it’s the ultimate prize.  We tell ourselves that we will never truly be alive until we have experienced it.

That’s what Hollywood tells us.  At times, that’s what our friends and family tell us.  Even our churches are many times telling us this. 

I am sorry to say it.  

But it’s not true. 

It’s a lie. 

And I am guessing that the hundreds and thousands of couples that have divorced would tell you the same. 

Marriage won’t fix your problems. It won’t stop your loneliness.  It won’t fill the gaps in your heart.  It won’t end your bitterness.

I personally think marriage is beautiful and wonderful.  I am very thankful for my husband and getting to do life with him.  But if there is one thing that I have learned it is that as great as my husband is, he is no replacement for God.

There should only be one king sitting on the throne.  And that’s Jesus.

God cares more about my heart than my circumstances. 

While I don’t think He desires any couple to be living a marriage of only fighting and anger, I also think He isn’t going to magically fix my marriage if I continue to put my husband on His throne. 

My husband never will and never can be what God already is and wants to always be for me. 

There is only one God.

So here it is…

We have to stop pushing the “happily ever after” mentality.  Enjoy your chick flicks and romance novels. I am going to.  But, that’s not the standard. 

You are not going to be happy forever just because you said “I do” or found your one true love.  Happiness is of the flesh.  Joy is of the Lord.

You will feel over the top happy at times in your marriage.  But, there is a chance you will also sometimes feel very alone and empty in your marriage too. Happiness will come and happiness will go.  You will feel the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows.

But marriage never can and never will be a good enough replacement for God. 

He wants my heart more than my happiness.  He believes in my transformation more than my comfort. 

I believe with all my heart that He does want marriages to flourish and shine.  I believe He does want our marriages to reflect His love affair with His church.  He wants to be glorified in our unions.

But not at the cost of us elevating our marriages and our spouses to the point that He (God) no longer reigns supreme in our lives.  

Until we see that, know it, and truly understand it, we will always feel like our marriages come up short.  It will never be what we wanted it to be.  It will never feel like the happily ever after we thought we deserved.  Our spouse will never live up to the hype.

Because marriage is good…very good.  But, God is and always will be infinitely better.

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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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