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Wedding Vows Are Not Suggestions

Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard. Parenting is hard. I think this is something we can all agree on. They all take a lot of compromise, giving, understanding, and biting the tongue to make them work. Sometimes it seems that the bad times far outweigh the good times.
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A new family at the wedding, blending Mom and her two children with Dad and his child, making a new family with stepchildren.  The husband and wife are wearing rings.
A new family at the wedding, blending Mom and her two children with Dad and his child, making a new family with stepchildren. The husband and wife are wearing rings.

Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard. Parenting is hard. I think this is something we can all agree on. They all take a lot of compromise, giving, understanding, and biting the tongue to make them work. Sometimes it seems that the bad times far outweigh the good times. However, for the purpose of this post, I am going to focus on marriage.

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My grandparents married young. They had 12 children, lived during hard economic times, and overcame many obstacles. Giving up was never an option for them. They lived in a time when marriage was a commitment, not a "try it" union. If something was broken, you fixed it instead of rushing out to look for a better replacement.

Today I see so many marriages ending in divorce before they've even had a chance to get out of the honeymoon stage. So many young people see marriage as something fun to try instead of thinking about it as long term. My philosophy on this stems from how free sexual relations have become. Now 16 year old girls are moving in with their boyfriend and his parents, sharing a bed together and playing house. Neither realizes that marriage is more than pretending to be adults. And just because you are having sex doesn't make you adults. These same young people are having babies and, since they are still in play mode, that precious little person becomes a pawn to hold over each other's head when things aren't going well.

How many of us remember the rhyme we would sing on the playground: Jack and Susie sitting in a tree, K*I*S*S*I*N*G, First comes love, Then comes marriage, Then comes Susie pushing a baby carriage? That used to be the way relationships went.

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You didn't decide to tie the knot because you wanted to wear a pretty dress and you sure didn't have a baby because you wanted to buy baby toys! The Bible is very clear on where God stands on marriages. The Word leaves no doubt that marriage is a union made before God Himself and no man can tear apart. I see married girls on Facebook and other social media sites who think that because they change their relationship status to single and revert back to their maiden name that they are no longer married. This would almost be funny if it wasn't so detrimental to our future generations.

And when children are part of the marriage equation, things get even more complicated. It takes a mother and father to MAKE a baby. That child does not belong to one more than the other and to think it does is a great injustice to both the child and the other parent. Again, I see mothers who will not let the daddy see his child just because she is mad at him. This breaks my heart! Not only is the father hurting, but so is the child! They did not ask to be put in the middle of a tug of war.

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I am blessed to have a wonderful husband. He has been there for me through both the good and the bad times. He loves me unconditionally and brings me chocolate to prove it! But even more important than that is the fact that he is also an amazing father to our children. He has been to every sports game, horse show and ballet recital they have ever participated in. He helps fix cars and broken hearts. Should something ever happen between us (not that I expect it to!), I would never forbid him to see his children. As his wife and the mother of these children, my job is to always lift him up in both words and prayers. I want our children to see how important this man is to our family. As our pastor said in church Sunday, we leave a legacy for the next generations. And whether we realize it or not, we are planting seeds for how those we affected will react in certain situations. It is time we all take responsibility for the morals and values we are instilling in our children. It is time we not only teach them what marriage is, but SHOW them! We need to set the example for what a good marriage is and how you must put the work into it to make it a good one.

So if you have that desire to be a wife and mother (or husband and father!), please, please, please do a lot of soul searching before you jump into it. Both being a spouse and parent takes a lot of work! Neither role is a walk in the park, but if you put the effort into them, they are the most rewarding titles you will ever carry.

What is your best advice you would give to someone contemplating marriage?