[Marriage] is the merciless revealer, the great white searchlight turned
on the darkest places of human nature.
—Katherine Anne Porter
Two (usually young) people start out in life together under the bliss of hormone-induced euphoria.They have well-intentioned but unrealistic ideas of what their lives together will be like.What starts out as an innocent, uncorrupted, and pure bud of love, over the years morphs into an old gnarled, scarred, and weather-beaten tree stump of friendship and devotion.And yet within this hoary old trunk beats a vibrant heart of the strongest white oak hardened by its perseverance and longevity to withstand any challenge that man, beast, or Mother Nature can throw against it.Those marriages that last for decades begin to discover the peaceful joy and contentedness that can only come from a lifetime of companionship and working together to rise above obstacles.
Many partners enter into marriage as frauds—showing only the best of themselves. But marriage has a tendency to expose the truth about two people and shine light on their true character.What was kept secretly under wraps while dating soon becomes apparent in the light of day during marriage.
When that happens, the character of the individuals either nourishes the relationship or destroys it. A healthy marriage relationship is comprised of the traits of trust, honesty, humor, faith, and commitment.Marriage in turn teaches us patience, selflessness, and humility.
Overcoming challenges is what makes us successful and grows us as human beings.Whether in a sporting event, at the workplace, or in a science lab, the person who is able to overcome the greatest difficulties is celebrated as a winner.Why should marriage be any different?When the hardships of a relationship confront us, we shouldn’t easily quit but rather give it the same effort we would any other worthwhile challenge in life.Certainly a good marriage is more important than throwing a basketball through a hoop in the larger scheme of things, yet people go to great lengths to improve themselves in sports when they won’t spend nearly as much energy trying to overcome minor obstacles in their marriage.
Certainly marriage is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our spouse. That's worth fighting for. Don't you think?
Excerpted from Rick's upcoming book, Romancing Your Better Half: Keeping intimacy alive in your marriage, by Revell Publishing