A friend asked me the other week about my marriage. She said, “It just seems like you and Brent have a really good marriage. What is it that makes you two so happy together?”
That’s kind of loaded question.
Well, the correct Sunday School answer would be – Jesus. By grace, Brent loves Christ….I love Christ. So, that is the place we start. Our lives flow from the well of His Spirit and His great love for us, yes.
But in the day to day, moment to moment, how do we thrive?
Later that night I said to Brent, “Hey, I was on the phone with Catherine today and we started talking about marriage. She asked me how it is that we are so happy together.” Without hesitation, Brent burst into song, “So happy together! I can see me lovin’ nobody but you for all my life….”
Well, there you have it 🙂
He is a such a goofball. We have so much fun together. We really do. We laugh a lot. We make it a point to have a ton of inside jokes. We have as much conversation as possible with three kids. And we try to not take life so seriously.
A lot easier said that done.
Once we really started talking about it, after he finished his rendition of The Turtles, So Happy Together, we realized the answer is there is no simple answer. And we are NOT always “So Happy Together.” We face tough challenges, just like every marriage.
A friend once said, “Marriage is not 50/50. A partner gives 100% all of the time.”
A life-changing one-liner.
The reason 50/50 doesn’t work is because 50/50 isn’t Biblical. Let me explain.
At a Campus Crusade meeting in February, Brent and I gave a talk on marriage. In that presentation, Brent showed this picture of us…
Brent said, “I could have done this ceremony without Becky. Maybe I should have. I could have stood up there by myself and repeated my vows….Because the Covenant I made that day was with the Lord, not Becky. I vowed to God that I would love her – as Christ loved the Church – giving myself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
I thought that was a very profound thing for him to say. YES. This day was seemingly all about Brent and Becky, but all the glam and glitz was just a side note in light of what really took place in this picture. The Groom that day wasn’t really Brent. It was Christ. And we, His Bride, made a very solid shake with Him on this whole marriage thing.
So back to 50/50. Why is my marriage not 50/50? Well, because its not about me or about Brent. Marriage is about my Covenant with God to give my all to Brent. To encourage this man, to speak well of him, to be his biggest fan, to fall under his mission in life (hence, submission). If I am giving Brent only 50%, then I am not holding up my end of the bargain. I am not following through with the Covenant made in this picture. You see, 50% is conditional. It’s saying, “If you do this, then I’ll do that.” That’s not what I said at that alter.
What if God said, “O.K. people. You give me 50% then I’ll give you 50%.”
Well, first of all there would have been NO Cross. Jesus would have looked at all those people yelling, CRUCIFY HIM and in two shakes of a rattles tale, would have said all bets are off.
No. He knew we’d drop the ball. He knew we couldn’t keep His commandments. He knew we couldn’t do enough. He knew that we’d all sin and fall short of the Glory of God – Romans 3:23.
Christ gives 100%. All the time. In spite of us.
Soak that up.
So it is with marriage. I am married to an imperfect man. He is married to an imperfect woman. I can be a brat and he snores. We are a mess on many levels. But our desire is to give 100% to our marriage because its not about us. Its about Christ. Brent fails me and oh do I ever fail him. But thank the Lord, we don’t high tale it out and say all bets are off. You aren’t giving me your 50%. No, I’m committed to give Brent 100% – even when he fails me.
Our marriage is far, far from perfect. We are very happy, most days, and for that I am very thankful. But I do not and should not go to Brent to meet my deepest needs. That’s not his job. My joy, my strength, my peace, my hope, my life is found in Jesus. I always get burned when I try to do a role reversal on these two.
The more I love and serve my Heavenly Groom, the more love I have for my earthly one. It is cyclical.
This weekend Brent’s birthday! Happy Birthday Buster! I love you so much. You are a picture of God’s grace in my life. I really deserve some rugged, no good dead beat, but in true Christ fashion, He gave me you. A knight. I am so undeserving. You are a man’s man to the core, full of honor and worthy of respect. Yet, tender towards God and sensitive to His call. I love you and long to serve and respect you, well. You are my very best friend and my second love. Thank you for making me your second love and pursuing Christ first, with Holy passion.
I love you.