By: Emily Conley
What makes marriage beautiful? Is it the magnitude of the ceremony on the wedding day? Is it whether the emotions and romantic thrills you feel for the other person in the beginning endure to the end?
Here’s the deal: Long after the white dress is packed away, after the honeymoon tan fades, everyone faces the hard reality of combining lives with a person who is imperfect, and realizing your own imperfections. We fall in step with the daily rhythms of life. And sometimes, when our imperfections collide, happily ever after feels less like “Cinderella” and more like “Saving Private Ryan.”
But that is exactly when the barely describable beauty of marriage becomes completely unrivaled by anything else in life. It’s not in the romantic feelings and emotions that fade and change through time and circumstances. It’s not in the material things you have in the beginning at your wedding, or you build up over years in a house, car, or career at the end. It’s in the blending of two imperfect people who change together and individually over time, yet live out the fulfillment of a promise unlike any other in all of human society: “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, till death do us part.”
God created marriage as a living illustration. Marriage is the story of one person willingly giving up everything for another. The relationship between a husband and wife mirrors the unity and love between Christ and the Church he sacrificed everything for. As the apostle Paul says, it’s a “profound mystery.”
Watch this beauty unfold in the marriage of Ian and Larissa. After a car accident damaged Ian’s brain, Larissa shows us all what lifelong married love looks like.
Then watch Sarah and Chad’s story. On the outside, it looked like they had it all together: they were both raised in church, and Chad even led the worship on Sundays. But behind the façade, their marriage was collapsing to infidelity and more. Seemingly on a one-way train to inevitable divorce, their marriage had to fall apart in order to be put back together the right way.
Our marriage stories might not be as dramatic, but they’re no less miraculous and beautiful, whether you’re fighting to rebuild your marriage after infidelity, or fighting The Battle of the Dirty Socks Left on the Floor. Because marriage isn’t just your story, it’s the story.
Every day, you show the world what forgiveness looks like. Every day, you show the world a picture of unconditional love. Every day you show the world the reflection of Christ and the Church.
Those of us who have been called to marriage are a daily illustration to the world of Jesus’ love for the church – a beautiful, and weighty, responsibility.
What’s your story? In the comments below, share with us one of the greatest struggles in your marriage, and how you’re overcoming it. Or, whose marriage inspires you?
This post is the second in a series celebrating National Marriage Week. Read the rest:
1. 5 Reasons Marriage is Your Future
2. Marriage Isn't Just Your Story, It's THE Story
3. 5 Myths Crushing Marriage
4. This Valentine's Day: Is Our Heart In the Right Place?