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Challenge: Keeping Love Alive

Why to Stay Married...Even When It's Hard

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The Young Bride

Today is my 20th wedding anniversary.

Twenty years ago today, at 6:00 am I was waking up to the bright, hot day I was the bride.

I had not slept much the night before, but not from nervousness. I was way too excited. My mom and I kept meeting in the hallway in the middle of the night remembering tiny details we wanted to make sure came together.

I had heard of brides who were too stressed to enjoy their wedding day, and I didn’t want that to be me.

The day went perfectly. I savored every moment.

sara bride

As is true of every bride, there were ideals I clung to that day, and so much I didn’t know.

I knew God would bless our union because God is the creator of marriage. Marriage is a picture of the relationship we have with Jesus Christ, and one of the best glimpses of heaven we have here on earth.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:25-28

wedding couple

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:1-4

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The Forgiveness Required

I knew marriage meant the joining of two hearts and lives. I knew it was going to require sacrifice.

I did not know the deepest level of forgiveness that would be required, both to ask for and to give.

Here is the definition of a good marriage: “The union of 2 fantastic forgivers.”

I did not know, honestly could not have imagined, that the 19th year of our marriage would be one of the hardest. How could a young bride, then a new mom, then an experienced wife of many years, begin to guess?

Yet God in his infinite wisdom chose to pour out a refining fire on our lives this last year

I knew I loved this man and was willing to commit the rest of my life to him.

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I did not know that love would grow stronger, deeper, and more vibrant with time, to the point where my breath catches and my heart aches in the attempt to describe it. That 20-year-ago wedding day, I thought surely my love burned as brightly as a love possibly can burn.

While it is true that love is a choice, over a lifetime of marriage you do fall in and out of love with your spouse. You certainly fall in and out of feeling in love.

I chose this man and my commitment to my husband has never wavered. I’ve never not loved him. He’s my partner in running this kind-of broken house and parenting this crazy, fantastic group of kids. He is a great listener when I need to rant, and the person who knows I loathe green peppers yet eat jalapenos on everything.

We are also opposite personalities and he drives me bonkers sometimes. His techie-geek, exploring, free-thinking spirit rubs every to-do listing, organizing, controlling way in me totally nuts on the bad days.

Marriage is Like Sandpaper.

Marriage is like sandpaper. God is using this most intimate of relationships, as we bump and bash against each other day after day, to smooth out the edges that need to be roughed away.

It’s painful work, my friends, but the end result is worth sticking around for. God blesses us for hanging on for it. Because the Holy Spirit is working in Mike and me, we are different people — better people than we would have been apart.

Here is why to stay married — even when it’s hard: Each time you fall back in love with your spouse, God blesses your love to be stronger and more like His.

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sara mike

SaraMikedate

saramikeCA

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anniversary toast

wedding balloons

God knew exactly how our life would unfold, and how exceptionally deep our love would become.

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