Monday, March 4, 2019

What Does Marriage Mean ~ My Understanding

What does marriage mean to us...our understanding, well my understanding with lots of talking about it with my hubby.

For those of you who are married, I want you to pause for a moment.

Now think back to when you were dating.  Think about those in your life who were married at that time.

Did you ever chat with anyone about marriage, before you thought about marriage?  Or was everything up that point what you observed or overheard?

When you decided to get married and the plans were getting finalized, did you talk to anyone then about marriage?  Or did anyone talk to you?

Aside from the obvious, marriage means you can begin to get more intimate on a sexual level and marriage is a stepping block towards building a family, what else do we know about marriage going into it?

I will tell you this.  For me, I observed successful marriages and unsuccessful.  While I didn't know what made one successful or unsuccessful, one can learn a lot just by watching how people interact with each other.

From hand holding, to a kiss.  From conversations, to muttering under one's breath.  From talking, to listening.  From being single to being "one" (because when you get married, two become one, right?)

Really, marriage takes on a lot of different levels and a lot of different depths, along with many roles too.

Sure, we sat down with the pastor a few times before we got married.  Answered some questions, all fairly easy, and shared some stories.  We even went to a one day marriage class (because the pastor required it).

But no one really talked about what marriage was, what it was like.  And certainly, no one talked about what the bible and God say about it.

Sure, going in you learn it is a partnership.  You may have been told it is 50/50.  All you and your stuff become one right?  From house, to living expenses, to bank accounts, to finances and budgets, having kids if you choose, and the list goes on.

You may talk about the financial side of it, then again, you may not.  Finances is one the big reasons for divorce, which ranks right up there with communication or lack there of.  You probably know going in if you are going to have kids and how many.

But that is really about it.  No one talks about the communication that goes into it.  No one talks about the intimacy side of it, including sex.  No one talks about how it's not 50/50, it is really 100/100.  No one talks about how to keep the spark going.  No one talks about how to go from living single to living together.  No one talks about what the bible has to say about it.

What have you heard about marriage?

It's hard work.  You can have sex all the time, but let's be honest, no one does that because now that you are married, it just not what actually happens (why?).  You need to join your accounts.  You need to be on the same page.  You need to divvy up tasks and space (how much closet space is enough...too much?).  Anything to make her happy, because if she isn't happy no one is and all the other jokes like this that are about marriage.

But no one gets into the nitty gritty, digging in deep side of it.  Unless you are facing problems and seeing someone to help you through them (if you are both willing to admit you need help and are willing to find help).

What does marriage mean?

Two people join, make vows to each other, and begin theirs lives together under the same roof.

Yeah, I know, that is a bare bones definition of it.  But in it's most simplistic form, that is what marriage is.  You decide to share your life with someone else, live together, and start a family if you choose to.

But still what is marriage really?

It is a partnership.  It is a foundation you set up if you decide to grow your family.  It is talking.  It is listening.  It is dreaming together and setting up goals.  It is living together.  It is spending time together.  It is going on adventures.  It is having meals together.  Its cuddles, kisses, hand holding.  It is being intimate on many levels.  But it is also developing routines together, hobbies that are your own (but sometimes do together), it is combining, learning, growing, changing.  It is talking through the good stuff, and sticking together through the storms.  It is love.

And it is talked about in the bible and God does have wisdom that goes with it.

My hubby and I have been together since 1995, married in 2005.  Yup, high school sweethearts.  Started to grow our family in 2011, faced a miscarriage, then added to our family in 2013 and 2015.

We've had our fair share of storms and struggles.  But looking back, there is a lot we wish we knew or had heard about marriage that we are just finding out.

We got married in a church.  Our vows, the traditional ones you hear at most weddings.  The songs, pretty much the usual.  The bible verses read, the usual.

I never knew about the behind closed doors, raising kids, keeping your marriage going while raising kids, how to weather storms in your marriage, how to keep communication strong, who to talk to about marriage.  The realness, the reality, the open, the honesty, the rawness.  Which some of that, you only learn about throughout your marriage.  But I also never heard anyone else share about it

I certainly never knew what the bible or God thought about marriage.  Just knew societies and our cultures skewed view on it.  I knew I had my own inner struggles, but never realized until recently (like last year, 13 years in my marriage) how they were affecting my own marriage, my perspective, and my knowledge or lack there of.

My hubby and I finally started communicating again.  Having deep conversations, airing things out, opening up, letting it all out.  It was turning point.  In ourselves and our marriage.  We began learning more about ourselves, each other, marriage, the meaning of marriage, what God is looking for, what we are looking for, we began to let each other in again.  We shored up our marriage foundation, reconnected. 

We learned too that even though most people don't talk about marriage, others are or have faced what we are facing.  There are some great bloggers out there on marriage and there are some great marriages that are a good mentor.

I encourage you to take some time.  Take some time on your own each and as a couple to really talk.  Talk about your marriage, talk about it all...everything.  Talk about the hurts, the storms.  Talk about the good, the okay.  Let it out, open up, be real.  Let yourselves heal.  Build up your foundation, shore it up where needed.  Talk about the successes, talk about the mistakes.  Talk about where you need help the most, talk about where you can help.  Talk about your needs, wants, desires.  Talk about your dreams, your goals.  Talk.

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