How do you stay married sixteen years?
Well, at first, I want to answer I don’t know! When I actually think about it I think I would have to say by God’s Grace. And by extending grace and by receiving grace. Lots and lots and lots of grace. What does that mean? Well, God extends grace to us, which basically means when we follow Christ we have God’s favor and clemency. Clemency….. it’s this word, I think, that best describes what I mean. Webster dictionary defines clemency as a disposition to be merciful and especially to moderate the severity of punishment due. This ‘extending grace’ to me means that you choose to ‘let it go’ or you choose forgiveness instead of holding it against the person. Everyone needs grace. I know I do!
I can definitely be difficult to live with. I’m often better extending grace to strangers than those that live with me that I love the very most. Over the years that has gotten better, but I’m still a work in progress. I can remember some things my husband would do just driving me absolutely nuts. I learned early on that if I intended to stay married than I would have to let go of some things. I think you probably have to do this in most relationships- not just marriage, but in all relationships.
Its funny, the things I worry about, stress over, he doesn’t worry about. The things that he worries over, stresses about, I don’t worry about. He’s a saver, I’m a spender. I’m the gas, he’s the breaks. I’m a planner, he is sometimes. I want to get it done (yesterday), he is a procrastinator. It’s only been looking back over the years, the ups and downs, that I can see how we have complimented each other.
And it’s through the struggle that strength has come. The hard times when life has not been pretty, the times I have been terrible, the times when sickness has loomed and death has visited that I can now look back and see the storms we have weathered and survived. Making it through those storms (by God’s grace) has made our marriage stronger. I know that he has my back and I have his. I know that I don’t have to be perfect, and neither does he.