FOLLY is all I can call it. Tolerance is all I can call the response. The day I married Sarah I said in my speech that we were going to have a “first-class marriage.”
What little did I know. Idealism, for me, was off the scale.
Fast forward one week and the brittleness of newlywed marriage was all too clear. Two weeks later and I was sinking into a depression.
Mapping idealism is important for partners entering marriage. Very often one partner is highly idealistic, and it spells trouble. Worse if it’s both partners.
I was so idealistic that I plunged into a two month season of depression. A midlife crisis, no less. All because I’d not truly thought ahead to the realities of marriage.
I had no idea that I didn’t know my wife.
I thought I knew her through and through. How wrong I was. And she really didn’t know me like I thought she must. It took until we were married to really begin to know each other — and that process never stops. Suddenly we had to decide whether we even liked each other or not. And we had done everything possible to plan ahead our marriage — the best counselling, dozens of discussion dates, wise counsel of mentors, and we were both pastors. Surely this was to our advantage? Not so. Certainly not as much as we thought it would be beneficial.
The structures of trust and respect had to be constructed from the basement up. Suddenly love was not so easy. Intimacy was a daily challenge. So many times we hurt each other, yet rarely with intention. We missed each other a thousand times, without a hint of exaggeration. But we stuck at it.
The years have taught us that marriage is a daily commitment of overlooking offenses. Marriage is ultimately only as strong as each one of those twenty-thousand re-commitments — if we’re fortunate enough to marry early enough in life, and to stick at it long enough, to be married 54.75 years.
And marriages only get stronger by the day. We must have faith in that. It’s always up to both partners. And it’s always about our partner.