Author: Adrian Rolle
Marriage is great. Now, I’m not trying to be predictable or even cliché when I say that marriage is a great thing. I literally mean it! The catch is you have to work hard at it. I realized that until this past month, my view of marriage was like a fairy tale in a fantasy world. I've learned some powerful lessons that I think can apply to you whether you've been married 1 month or 10 years.
1. They aren't perfect. Three of the most dreaded words you could hear when it comes to a life partner (in my humble opinion). However, it is one of the biggest blessings acknowledging it. Not so I could brag that I’m “better” in any way, because I’m not; but so that it helps me remember to be patient. Funny thing is, that hits you pretty quickly when you get married. After the first day or two I began to hear a nice calm voice yell out to me from the bathroom saying “Honey! You forgot to put the toilet seat down!” Or me having to tell her that she can seat with me during a sport game, just don’t talk over the game. See, neither of us are perfect. Even though I overly simplified the complexity of our imperfection (in order to save my marriage by going into the nitty gritty), the basic premise is that we need patience with each other’s flaws.
2. Let go of pride. That’s one of the things that makes marriage, or any type of relationship so difficult. I want it my way, whether I verbally admit it or not. It’s easy to blame the other party when in all honesty, it’s me. I’m impatient with your flaws and struggles but I want you to be patient with mine; a double standard that needs to be shattered. Remembering that my spouse is just like me; she gets angry, she hurts, she wants to be respected and honored like me, helps me to be patient when I know she just wants a listening ear. When that’s hard to do, which it often is, I go to verse 5 in James 1 that says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” There I learn how to apply the principle of patience.
3. Love is essential. I know what you’re thinking, “Duh Adrian! Why get married if you don’t love the person?” That’s true! I agree with those sentiments. To marry and not love is a path that can lead to destruction, in my opinion. However, that’s just the beginning. One of the most important values that I’ve learned in regards to love is not to expect anything back. To buy a gift, spend quality time or even being patient shouldn’t be given with the hopes that I receive something or even the same thing in return. A very hard idea to make a reality. fact, I can think of moments in our relationship where I expected her to “do as I did” and was sorely disappointed and even felt jaded. However, I don’t know if I can say that this is really love. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Philippians 2; here Paul gives us a picture perfect example of what love looks like tangibly. One part that ALWAYS seems to get me is where it says: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Most interesting is that Jesus-who is God- doesn’t expect to be treated with high regard, instead, the next verse says, He “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” All of this to say He didn’t expect anything in return. He accepted His position as a man/servant and was happy to fulfill that role; even though He had the right to be called and treated as God. Applying that to my relationship has created more peace and enjoyment, not just for me but for our relationship.
4. Fight! Yes I said it. It is important to fight in marriage. By fighting I mean I have to spiritually, emotionally, and mentally fight FOR my marriage. As stated in the beginning, marriage is a great thing when hard work is put into it. Casey Treat, a pastor in Seattle, Washington, once said “The greatest battles are fought in the mind”. If this is true, that means my enemy isn’t my wife; it is myself. 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion... and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Fighting in marriage, for me, means that when I am angered, tempted to “call it quits”, or don’t want to forgive I should press beyond the thoughts and feelings of doubt, fear, and anger and choose to see and think the positive of a situation. In fact, whenever those thoughts enter my mind I choose to dismiss them almost immediately, so I don’t entertain ideas that will not lead to building my marriage. Kind of sounds like the Christian experience a bit, right? In fact, when I think of marriage I almost always compare it to my experience as a Christian.
Marriage has become an invaluable gem for me. Though it has its difficult moments and days, the sweet aroma of it all is living life with someone who, though different in so many ways from me, still complements and incomparably adds to my life everything I didn’t know I needed. All while showing her beautiful smile. I’m just getting started in the school of marriage but I’m excited to learn lessons that will help build a strong, long-lasting, Christ-centered marriage. What can I say? Marriage is GREAT!
Adrian Rolle lives in Houston, Texas with his wife, Nandi, where they help lead the youth ministries department at Houston International Seventh-day Adventist church. He is a nurse by profession and enjoys using health education as a means to show people a "more abundant life" as found in Christ. His hobbies include reading, writing and playing the piano.