The hardest and most rewarding thing I've ever done

Marriage is the hardest thing I have ever done. Harder than getting my MAT with two small children. More difficult than moving from Olympia to a trailer in Sumter County. It rivals the twelve mile road march that Lisa and I endured during Basic Training. Child birth pales in comparison to staying married.

Why? Why is staying married the most difficult endeavor I've accomplished to date? A look back on twenty years of marital bliss reveals a common theme. It is incredibly difficult to not be selfish. I like doing what I want, when I want and how I want to do it. Throw another person into my world and now I have to set myself aside and share, take turns, compromise, and listen when I'd rather be engulfed in my own world. And this is with a person I fell in love with, the man I'm crazy about,  my best friend, and my babies' daddy. I sometimes feel bad for strangers around me!

Being married is a lot like being in kindergarten. Every day, you get a new chance. You get to switch your stick back to Green, even if you were on Red yesterday. There's also a new lesson to learn each day, if you're willing to listen and behave. There are more opportunities to laugh, play, build, create, and discuss when everyone is contributing, friendly, and willing to share. When someone is "shellfish" or just being a butt, it brings the marriage, and classroom, down.

If only our marriages were as easy as graduating from 5K. The thing is, marriage is an everyday thing. There are no stickers, stamps, smily faces, or treasure boxes that signify we have completed the task of fuflilling our wedding vows.
My marriage is far from perfect. Any of our friends and family could easily pick out the flaws and failings. But, there are a few things Mark and I have done along the way to wake up the next day knowing we'll still be married in the morning. 

*Marriage counseling. Hands down. We learned a lot about each other and ourselves.

*God's Word. Applying scripture to every part of my life improved my marriage in ways I could not have imagined. 

*Support of friends. We had a handful of couples who really knew us, loved us anyway, and provided guidance, an ear, their experiences, and time as we walked through life as a married couple.

*Stubbornness. Mark and I can be highly competitive and hard-headed. Sometimes our sheer determination to remain married is what gets us through another day.

*Committment to keep learning together. You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan is a book I highly recommend. It takes the focus off of us, and puts it, instead, on honoring and loving God. Mark ordered it on Amazon, we went through a chapter a week. There are videos that can be downloaded for free that go along with each chapter. 

I know I'm not the only woman who loves her husband, but also struggles with how to make marriage work. These ideas are part of my story and worth sharing with you. How about we stop pretending that we have perfect marriages and start sharing our struggles and suggestions that work for us. 

I thank God each day for the gift of marriage and for blessing me with a wonderful husband. May this post bring you a treat of encouragement to draw a little closer to your honey tonight and tomorrow.