They said “Make sure you know how he really is.” They said “Know her character so you know how she’ll be in crisis.” “Is he more spiritually mature than you?” “Is she a proverbs 31 woman?” “Can he lead?” “Will she follow?”Some of those are wise words, no doubt. But fear sometimes looks like wisdom and the truth is no one can prepare you for a lifetime of experience. Your spouse will take you by surprise. You’ll be surprised by the dark days of depression that sink over her when a loved one dies. You’ll be surprised by the pettiness she exhibits with lack of sleep. You’ll be surprised by the fact that he sometimes forgets to kiss you goodbye when he’s stressed about work or he sometimes forgets everything when he’s distracted. And it will surprise you that the dreams you dreamed at twenty-one have not all come true by twenty-nine. The anger surprises you. The frustration surprises you. The failures and disappointments can abound. But there are other surprises. You’ll be surprised that three kids later a weekend away is more fun than anything you ever did while dating. You’ll be surprised by that rush of love that twists your stomach when you wake up in the morning and his scratchy face and dark circles under his eyes are only one fuzzy baby head away from yours. Your breathe will be taken away by his daily sacrifice that Love makes possible. His selflessness will disarm you in a million little ways. Coffee brought home on Saturday after running errands. Flowers as a surprise because its been a rough week. Coming home to a pristine house after you spent a day at the beach. And you will grow together, sometimes one of you will have to skip a little to keep pace with the other. But that’s the secret isn’t it. In the movie, Her, Theodore says “It was exciting to see her grow and both of us grow and change together. But that’s also the hard part: growing without growing apart or changing without it scaring the other person.”
And that’s the truth about life. Drink it down in joy filled gulps, the bitter intermingled with the sweet. The preparation really only helps in the in-between spots, go in with your eyes wide open but prepared to be shocked. The life you make together will be a new creation. Love takes your breathe away with unexpected joys. Brings tears with unfathomed grace woven into the pattern of a mundane life. “His ways are not our ways.” Forgiveness becomes second nature, Love will abound, grace will increase.
They said preparation is the best defense against divorce. The truth is preparation is a fun thing you do before you have any idea what you’re doing. Marriage is like cliff-jumping. You prepare yourself as best you can mentally, you bring along support, you take a long look at the jump, make sure there are no rocks at the bottom. Sometimes the only way to live is to jump, feet first, eyes closed, the ones you love cheering you on. And you’ll share that rush of wind in your ears, the plummeting feeling in your stomach, and you’ll share the sinking down, no sound, water in your ears, the sun looking so distant and watery-weak overhead. You’ll share the emerging triumph drips shaken out of your hair and eyes. The sun turns bright again overhead, the whooping yells of the spectators. . . you are triumphant. Your fingers interlocked and raised overhead as you tread water together, in rhythm together.