So, had an awesome church service today. My church is going through a relationship series and today they had a couple up on stage talking about the different things that we expect from our spouse, for them to be loving, support us, etc. things that most people would probably agree would make up a good marriage. They also talked about certain expectations that we have from our spouses that aren't really that realistic. Like, expecting our spouse never to mess up, expecting perfection out of our spouse. The couple then went on to explain what when we do this, we are not only setting our spouse up for failure, because no one is perfect except Christ, but also setting ourselves and our marriage up for failure as well.
I think often when people get married, they think that getting married is going to solve problems in the relationship. Like, if one of you has a trust problem, that will be solved because you are committing yourselves to be with each other for the rest of your lives. Kind of like, "Well, I married you and you're stuck with me, so you have to trust me cuz I'm all you got baby." That's definitely not true. When Lincoln and I got married, we were full of expectations, not only about our marriage, but we were also going into several new phases in our lives. We were moving far away from where we both grew up, we were renting our first apartment, and we were beginning our college careers. And, even though I ended up getting pregnant and post-poning my college dreams, the biggest let down in expectation versus actual outcome was in fact in our marriage. I was one of those people that thought getting married would fix all of our problems, not necessarily problems Lincoln had, but my own issues with parts of our relationship, when in fact getting married only magnified the issues that we hadn't worked out, and differences between the two of us that might never get worked out. I set myself up for failure.
So, what does a girl do when she realizes that the fairy tale ending that she thought she was going to be living out is in fact a lie? She accepts the inevitable, that no one is perfect and so no relationship will ever be perfect. Think about it this way, if you can pick out and add up every single flaw in yourself, (or perhaps in your partner, which seems to be easier sometimes ;)! ) how can you expect that when you add another person to the equation, and add all of their imperfections, that imperfect plus imperfect is somehow going to equal fairy tale perfection? It's not. But, that in itself is a beautiful thing because the reason we are so scared of the fact that our lives and our relationships and our marriages aren't perfect is that we feel that if they aren't then we must be doing something wrong. We are so scared that we are failing, but to really understand what failure is we have to redefine what it means to be successful in a marriage. Having a successful marriage does not mean you won't disagree, does not mean you won't get hurt. All it mean is that you keep trying, that you keep choosing to love that person no matter what. Success if never throwing in the towel, never saying "I'm done" and getting back up from where ever you have fallen to.
The wedding ring is a symbol of your everlasting love for your spouse. It is a circle, meaning that your love never ends. Ever notice how after a certain period of time your wedding ring begins to get a little dull, may even get a little bump on it. Those bumps and that dulling shine are a symbol of your marriage as well, of the little nicks that it gets along it's journey. And that's okay, because even though every once in a while you might have to get that ring buffed or shined, it still holds its shape, it is still never ending, and even when you are hurt by or angry at your spouse, that little nick doesn't change that shape of your marriage either.