This is the second part to this post. The first is available here
If however, you did not spend the same time preparing before marriage, but rather married someone within a matter of weeks, or months of meeting them, then you might not have that same assurance. At the first sign of trouble, you might be tempted to think “Oh no, this was a terrible mistake”. And so on at the second sign of trouble….and on to the third sign…and you might be tempted to view your whole marriage with an air of negativity. And to some extent you’d be right, of course. In some ways it was a mistake, at least to get married in that way. However, God is able to turn mistakes around. I guess my point is that you might be tempted to see each tremor within your marriage not as a sign of satanic attack against a fundamentally healthy marriage, (where “fundamental” literally means “in the foundation”) but rather as an expression of the fact that your marriage is “fundamentally” flawed. It would be a way of creating insecurity within yourself regarding your marriage. This might then have the potential of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, if it causes you to behave defensively within your marriage. So taking the time to build a great foundation also builds great confidence within your marriage: knowing that this is the best man in the universe for me, and I married him in the best possible way – this marriage can only be amazing!
Your spouse playing up is just one possibility, and it is possibly an unsophisticated way of thinking about issues within marriage. I bet that what would be more likely to happen is that issues crop up which cause confusion between the two of you, which neither of you knows how to handle, which stretch your friendship to its limits, which stretch you both beyond the limits of your character, in ways which might cause tension between the two of you. It might not even be that you are arguing particularly. It might be that one spouse is cast into depression, and the other spouse does not know how to handle it, does not really care as much as they know they should, does not know how to initiate communication…would rather carry on and pretend as if nothing was happening. Or it might be that the state of being married itself, the day to day monotony, itself asserts a kind of pressure of boredom on your marriage. It could be the difference between that perpetual excitement that naïve people like me expect to live in…and the rather less exciting reality.
Say for instance, we’re finally married…we’ve been married for a few months, and on one of those boring days, or after a minor skirmish, my husband remembers that the name of my blog is “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie”, and he goes to hug me, and I receive the hug, but mechanically….or with fake enthusiasm, and he and I both know. This, I imagine, would create awkwardness which might make communication difficult…imagine trying to discuss that situation later? It might require so much vulnerability for which your friendship/marriage is not yet quite deep enough. In a way “it’s only a hug”, but on the other hand….especially when I’ve always made such a big fuss about hugging, and he has obediently read every post on this blog from the very beginning (no pressure!)
“I’m sorry I did not hug you back…I’ve just been feeling a little distracted lately” “No no, it’s OK!”
(You know how guys often try to fob off things that did hurt them? Or they go the other way and start shouting?! I really hope that God will give me a man who is strong enough to admit when he’s been hurt, and to accept my apology) (By the way, I should explain that I use the word “Guys” in a strange way, and this is entirely due to the influence of that hit TV 90s programme “Friends”, which I loved! Generic “Guys” means young male, cool people. However, “You guys” just means my group of friends, who are my age, or thereabouts, or younger (ie, not to be used for my parents’ generation – oh no!) However, it can include my female friends, and many times exclusively refers to girls, as in, when discussing with my sisters: “What do you think we should do, guys?” I did use it in this second sense in my last article, and I hope it did not cause confusion, in that I was using the word “Guys” to refer to the two spouses of a married couple…However, in the paragraph above, I have used this word in the first sense, to refer exclusively to young male people).
So yeah, I would definitely prefer the following scenario (and I have to marvel at myself, that “somehow” I managed to get on to talking about hugs in a post that is supposed to be about remaining grounded in Christ and in discernment in your marriage…)
“I’m sorry I did not hug you back. Yes, on one hand I have been feeling a little distracted lately. However I don’t want to make any excuses. I’m just sorry.”
“You know what? It did hurt me. It made me feel a little stupid.”
“I’m so sorry. Will you hug me now?”
At this point, I guess one of two things will happen. Either he will hug me, or we will both fall apart laughing at the supreme cringiness (however you spell this word) of the conversation. Hopefully both, hopefully the tension will be defused, and
I we both will be grabbing every opportunity to hug him one another enthusiastically for the next two months….
However this is a complete digression. My point in this post is that even where we start off strong, there is still every possibility for everything to come tumbling down. This has happened so many times with people who have gone ahead of us, whose marriages seemed as optimistic as ours, whose love for God might even have surpassed our own. Speaking for myself, I do not want my marriage to become a statistic. So by the grace of God, yes, I am going to do everything to build an excellent foundation in the first place. But then I hope and pray that God would empower me to keep pressing on, to keep pushing through, to keep praying for myself, to keep praying for my spouse, to keep embarrassing myself in those cringe-worthy conversations, to keep trying to think of ways to bring joy, and beauty and delight to my husband’s life, even where I might be scared that he might reject me.
1 Corinthians 16v14
14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Photo of honeymoon wineglasses by Holgi on Pixabay