All you need is love?

(Think Princess Bride as you read the below… :)

Mawwiage… Mawwiage is whut bwings us togethuh today….

Ah, that has to be one of my (Jody) favorite quotes from Princess Bride short of “My name is Inigo Montonya… You killed my father. Prepare to die.” :)

Anyone, anyone?

Fun and games aside, we are here to talk about marriage!

As I was waiting for Zach the other day, I wondered in the magazine aisle and started reading an article in Marie Claire on an interview they had with actress Olivia Wilde. They were discussing her recent divorce to husband of 7 or 8 years, and she said this:

Our deal from the beginning was, ‘We’re crazy to do this, but we’re doing it because we’re in love and it makes us happy. The only reason to divorce is if one of us isn’t happy. Life is too short.’ After trying to make the relationship evolve in the way our lives had, I realized it wasn’t a natural evolution. When the relationship becomes about working to make it work, it’s lost that beauty and that optimistic bohemian sense that brought us together. I don’t think love should be work… we tried and it wasn’t making us happy.

This totally bummed me out. AND it made me mad that this is the message that is getting pushed out there. Things too hard? Not happy? Ah, just quit then.

Before we got married we always had people say to us “Marriage is a lot of work” and I never really GOT that… until we became married of course. Marriage IS a lot of work and we tell our couples that great marriages just don’t happen – the take a lot of continual work and maintenance. It’s SO true! Anyone else wondering why at least ONE thing in life can’t be simple? *sighs* :)Yeah, marriage is hard – and it can be REALLY REALLY hard sometimes, but when has anything good ever not come from hard work?

We are reading this marriage book Love and War by John & Staci Eldredge, and I just read this part yesterday:

A beautiful you and a beautiful me in a beautiful place forever is not the right vision for a marriage. It backfires on you; it betrays you. For one thing, it ain’t gonna happen. Not until heaven. You will feel hurt and you’ll look for someone to blame if you hold on to this as your life’s goal. And besides, the vision is too self-centered, too inwardly turned” (p. 114).

BUT… keep reading!

God uses marriage to bring us the deepest joys in life; Satan tries to use it for destruction. Without you, your spouse will not become the man or the woman that God intends him or her to be and the Kingdom of God will not advance as it is meant to advance. Your spouse plays the most vital role in your life. You play the most critical role in your spouse’s life. No one will have a greater impact on your spouse’s soul than you. No one has greater access to your spouse’s heart than you” (p. 38).

Wow. Talk about an honor.

So marriage is work, but what is the “work” that actually needs to be done? One thing for Zach and I, as we have gotten comfortable in our marriage (of 5 and a half years), we forget to communicate to each other that we appreciate each other. One of Zach’s love languages (SUCH a great book to read – The Five Love Languages) is Words of Affirmation, and though Words isn’t necessarily one of my main ones, I love to hear it when Zach appreciates me. We got the following idea from one of our old Sunday School class teachers and they called it The Love Jar.

Essentially, what you do is as the week progresses, any time your spouse does something that you appreciate, something you noticed, something that made you laugh – whatever – write it down and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the week, sit down together and read them together. It sounds so simple, but it’s amazing what that little investment does for your marriage! Baby steps people. Baby steps.

Here is our marriage “jar.”

Yes, it’s work and would I rather not take the time to write a little note or would I rather be reading some great novel than a marriage book?… yup, but it really is totally worth it. We always tell people to read business books because it will reveal new things and shape and change your business, but why should we not do the same for our marriage? Who walks into a marriage knowing how to do everything right? If anything, many of us know how to do everything wrong because of what we may have witnessed in our own families. I want to be the kind of wife the Lord has called me to be, so that our marriage doesn’t just serve ME and make me happy, but to be in this together and not only make each other better, but to have a united purpose and change lives around us. Sometimes reading a marriage book and doing little things is what it takes and it’s worth it.

I wanted to leave you with this from, Love and War…

Being married costs you everything. Tears. Nights of sleep. Incredible vulnerability and sacrifice. It causes you to take a deeper look inside your heart and soul, your desires and your personality. It hurts. It is not easy. But that does not come as a surprise to you. You already know that!

Of course love costs everything – look at the Cross. But loving is always worth it.

We all know that loving is hard. Marriage is hard. It is hard because it is opposed. The devil hates marriage; he hates the beautiful picture of Jesus and his Bride that it represents. He hates love and life and beauty in all its forms. The world hates marriage. It hates unity and faithfulness and monogamy. Our flesh is not our ally here either – it rebels when we put others before ourselves. Our flesh hates dying.

But God loves marriage! The Holy Trinity is for it. God loves intimacy, friendship, unity, self-sacrifice, laughter, pleasure, joy, and the picture of the Sacred Romance that you have the opportunity to present to the watching world. Gos is with you. He is for you. He commands you to love and he says that with him and in him all things are possible.

Not easy. But possible” (p. 31).

May this challenge and encourage you to be a better spouse! Do any of you have ideas of things you do to keep the love alive in your marriage?