I have to be honest, the New Year was kind-of a downer for me. It reminded me that we still don't have a baby and we're still just kinda stuck in a problem without an immediate solution, stuck dealing with emotions we'd rather not have to deal with and stuck trying to find good things each day (and there are a lot of good things to find, really).
Everywhere I look there are blogs, articles, and TV shows all about how to make 2011 amazing. But really, 2011 is going to be like all the years before it and all the years after it....it's going to contain some joyful moments and some challenging ones. I think many of us, myself included, don't really like to look reality in the face and see that life is mostly uncertain. None of us knows if today is going to be a bad day or a good day. None of us knows what amazing things will happen in our lives and what sorrows we will face.
It's silly that we all act so in control of our lives...when we have so little actual control. This lack of control over life's circumstances and the uncertainty of what will happen affects marriage in a major way. Even though we should, we don't expect things to go wrong when we get married. We don't expect the sickness of a spouse, loss of a job, difficult families, children that deal with disabilities or illness, fertility problems, debt, hidden addictions, etc. We expect life and our marriages to go according to plan. Sometimes they do and man that's just great. It's so wonderful to experience together a goal accomplished or a blessing hoped for. Isn't is easy to feel like your marriage is strong during those times?
It's the times where the uncertainty of life hits a marriage when the strength of it is tested. Jake and I have commented to each other a couple of times that now we understand how something like infertility can cause divorce. When something unexpected hits, it can bring a marriage closer together....it can just as easily push it apart. I think our culture doesn't help us learn that we're supposed to weather the storms together. What we see all around us is the idea that life should be good, feel good, and go according to plan...when it doesn't, it's time to call it quits on the marriage.
And people are missing out. It's great to be married when things go well. What I'm finding is that it's even more great to be married when the uncertainty of life hits and will hit again all throughout the marriage. Yes, these times are hard. But being there for each other, praying for one another, learning how to support and encourage, and finding love and acceptance in the midst of failure and heartache...I am learning how much these things are blessings from God.
What I hope for 2011 is that married couples can acknowledge life will throw at them an equal number of sorrows and joys. God designed marriage as a place for love, fun, and fulfillment, but also as a great place of redemption. A marriage that stays together, learns together, and weathers the storms together takes the bad and turns it into a great joy and place of strength and security. I hope that more couples choose to stick together this year when it's often easier said than done, it will be worth it in the long run.