We’ve been married 31 years, 32 in November. I suppose this could be a source of pride. After all, we’ve been able to “accomplish” what many cannot. But I’m not proud…I’m humbled. I’m grateful.
I didn’t have good role models of marriage…at least not in my home.
My parents divorced when I was 17, but the deterioration of their marriage began long before. Some of my earliest memories were hearing my parents fighting loud, hard scary. The anger between my parents grew roots of bitterness and resentment. And eventually, there was nothing left. No passion, no understanding, no love. There was a huge chasm between them until they were quite literally separated and finally divorced.
Would this story have been different if they were better equipped? If their marriage had been more intentional?
We’ll never know the answer. But I can tell you because of my family background and my husband’s too, we hadn’t a clue about how to have a successful marriage. So I am grateful that my church required marriage preparation and we chose a weekend away called Engaged Encounter.
And I am also grateful that during that weekend, I learned something that I didn’t like hearing at the time. But it turned out to be the big takeaway that has influenced our marriage time and time again.
Love is a decision. <- a="" href="http://ctt.ec/0q3d4" target="_blank">Click to Tweet->
What? Love is a decision? But I already loved Chris. Maybe marriage was a decision. But a decision to love? How utterly unromantic! But how absolutely true...at least for us. And maybe for you too.
That one weekend laid a foundation in our marriage. Though we discovered some things that we didn’t necessarily see eye to eye on, we took the first steps together, united in our desire to not just get married but to stay married. We believed we would be married till death parted us. We just had no idea that this commitment would be dramatically tested, shaky, more than once.
Marriage is a journey. Each one as unique as the two people it represents. <-- a="" click="" to="" tweet="">-->
Ours has been a bumpy ride, with hills and valleys we never could’ve imagined, detours that took us far off the path of what we had hoped for, potholes that threatened to cause damage beyond repair. But we kept on driving. The adventure has been laced with the greatest of joys and rock bottom sorrows. We have learned a lot along the way.
There were times when our love was nothing but a decision…void of warm cozy feelings, missing the magic of passion. We were drained, broken, empty. Still, we decided to love, to stay, to work, to not give up.
So here we are…many years after that Engaged Encounter weekend. We just downsized. Moved from our home of 26 years, where we raised our family of four daughters. It was hard to leave, hard to say goodbye to the well-known, well-worn floors and walls, but our footsteps were starting to echo. And as we looked for our new home, it was as though we were looking for our first home together…as we had so long ago.
This. This here. Where we are now. This has made the decision to love so very worth it.
How about you? Did you learn something early on in your relationship that has stayed with you? Been a lifeline? I'd love to hear about it!
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