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Monday, January 24, 2011

The fine art of marriage

I'm about to get very transparent here. Maybe uncomfortably so (I'll let you know when I'm done). But I think transparency is one of those weapons we have been given to battle Satan that we don't use often enough.

Marriage is hard. Entertainer Roberta Flack once said, "Getting married is easy. Staying married is difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime should rank among the fine arts."

I didn't feel like much of an artist this weekend. I (I think it's safe to speak for Lisa and say "we") were in one of those situations where the "hardness" of marriage showed itself. We weren't on the same page. Everything we said to each other came out wrong. My pride was acting in full force. My temper was rearing its ugly head. I'll say it again...I wasn't in my best form.

Reflecting back on the disagreements of the weekend, there is much for this hard-headed fool to learn. I hope the lessons are ones that you will take to heart. (It might save you from an "animated" conversation or two).

1. There is no room for pride in your marriage if you hope to stay married. Humility makes for a great relationship.
2. Sometimes its better to step away from the conversation for a little while before you go any further. It gives God time to knock you upside the head and prevent you from saying stupid things.
3. Marriage is a lot of work. If you believe anything else, you are setting yourself up for failure. "Happily ever after" doesn't belong in your marriage. It belongs in the book of Revelation where Christ will come and make everything right. Everywhere else in (real) life it's just a fantasy.
4. I am a lucky man. No matter how stupid I get or how hard my head is or how crazy life gets out of control, I have been blessed with an amazing woman who has promised to face ALL of life with me---even the stinky times.
5. I'm in love. Not because I always "feel" like it (nor does she) but because I know with all my heart that God has given me a very good thing. And as long as I'm willing to follow Him, I'll get to be blessed by her.

Look, I'm human. Sometimes I feel like I should be on one of those shows with the "stupid human tricks." Thankfully, no one has a camera around when I start to get foolish or selfish. To me there is no more beautiful picture than when a couple--bearing all the scars of their time together--are able to talk about a shared life that goes the distance. That's what I dream about for Lisa and me.

We have a long way to go. We've just begun our life together. But I can't wait to see what God is going to do through this partnership He has given us. My prayer for my married friends (and those who have not yet taken that step) is that you would treasure the precious gift of marriage...and prepare yourself for the battles that make it worthwhile.

Lisa and I survived our weekend. After the dust had settled and we (mainly me) got to be more reasonable, we saw it for what it was. It wasn't my fault...and it wasn't hers. It was just another attempt by the enemy. Those attempts are best thwarted with grace, prayer, understanding, love and commitment. Thankfully, I have found all five in Lisa.

There, that transparency thing wasn't so bad, was it?

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