There are times when the whirling thoughts in my head spill out rather effortlessly on clattering keyboard letters and onto my glowing computer screen. I would call this inspiration. Whether my thoughts are more cohesive at that point or God is simply choosing to direct my message, I do not know.
There are other times when my whirling thoughts just spin like a blender stuck on high with the lid off. Some stuff spills out, but it looks like more of a mess than anything of value.
For a few weeks now I've been pondering and "whirling" about marriage.... how to have a happy marriage in particular. What is the one thing I could share that would encourage other couples to strive for a happy marriage?
I've gone through many seasons in my marriage to my husband of nearly 10 years. You hear people say "it hasn't always been easy," and I would be in the camp to use those exact words. In fact, I've even said through tears to my husband, "Are we going to make it?" Obviously we made it through the those hardest seasons and every day we keep working hard to make our relationship even stronger.
So many stress factors come into play in marriage. From personalities, past relationships, location, vocations, extended family, children, how many children and in how many years, genders of children, health, and money (or lack there of). My messy thoughts lead me to wonder, "How could I have any advice that would apply when marriages are SO different?"
I tried to write drivel on what should be such an inspiring and applicable topic, even skipping my assigned post for last week on Drops (they didn't fire me thankfully). I remained stumped. It was in my days upon days of hesitation that I saw a link to an article. It was written by a widow of a soldier killed last year in Afghanistan. I never knew him, but he grew up in my hometown and I saw many references to him and his wife on facebook after his tragic death. Out of curiosity I followed the link and read.... and cried.... and read.... and cried.
She wrote near the end, "Sometimes I get so sad looking at couples wondering if they know how much they should relish every day together? Wondering if they know that it doesn’t matter if the house is clean... you should just sit down and enjoy each other's company. Wondering if they know if he forgets to take the trash out or doesn’t hear what you say it’s not the end of the world?"
Those words struck me and made my whirling messy thoughts settle. A happy marriage is so much about being grateful. This one thing applies to the variables in every relationship. When we approach marriage with a grateful heart, the little things that seem to be frustrating, irritating, or not working, are in the shadows compared to the good. Seeing the good is about keeping selfishness squelched, saying the kind thing, encouraging, thanking, holding, hoping, talking.
The woman's story really touched me. I am so very saddened by her loss -- she had such an obviously deep and fulfilling relationship with her husband. Her message stays with me, as I hope it does with you today too... Do you know what you have in the man you married and are you grateful for the small moments?
Love must be sincere.
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Read the story in its entirety here. But grab your tissues first.