When you first get married there is a newness to it that causes everything to glow. It is surreal, like living in a dream. No more saying goodbye at the end of the night. No more falling asleep with your mobile phone because after you dropped her off you still wanted to talk as you drove home and got ready for bed, brushed your teeth and drifted off together. (Thanks Verizon.) Now you get to brush your teeth together!
When Jennie and I first got married we didn’t want to leave the house. We had spent our engagement at church, restaurants, other people’s houses and public places in order to avoid being alone in our two apartments like the plague. We knew ourselves and our desire for each other too well to put ourselves in a place of temptation. So once we said “I do” we had no desire to go out. We played board games, cooked, ordered food in, and pretty much became shut-in’s. It was awesome. A new marriage is like a new car, everything is so fresh and magical.
This is a wonderful thing but it is not sustainable. The euphoria and newness of it all has no choice but to give way to the reality and inevitably of life. Goosebumps can’t last forever. Marriage is an endurance sport. You can cultivate those initial feelings by doing the first things but you can’t count on them. Try as you might that elusive new car smell can’t be kept longterm. Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing.
A classic Corvette might not have that new car smell of a brand new vehicle but it has so much more history and character. If you are the original owner of a car like that and have kept up with it, you have poured time and life into it. It has taken energy to keep it cherry. There are memories for all the miles. Incidents and accidents have happened but there are stories for every single scratch. Life has been lived.
Your marriage can become like that. If you cherish the relationship and give it the constant care that it requires it can deepen and get better and richer with time.
Learn to appreciate the intricacies and complexities of your spouse. Study them and give constant care to their development over time. Your marriage will bring exactly as much joy to you as you are willing to sacrifice and labor to take care of it. Suffer for it like Jesus suffered for us and it will be a treasure. Some new car might have a fresh smell to it but it will seem sterile, unproven and untested compared to the vintage model that you have poured your life into.
Jennie and I have been through high and low together. We have wept in the valley and laughed in the sunshine. Our relationship has worth beyond diamonds to me. She is a one-of-a-kind Ferrari in a world full of Neons. The honeymoon is over. Long live the marriage.
What about you? How have you fought for your marriage to thrive? What has been the best way to keep the relationship strong?