There isn’t just one special thing that I would say makes a happy marriage, but rather several parts all working together and two people who are committed to be there for each other despite life’s circumstances. Marriage is such a gift. It’s a beautiful relationship designed by Almighty God and I am so thankful to have such a good husband. He is truly my best friend, helper and supporter. My love for him grows every day and I know his does the same! Getting to be married to your best friend is so wonderful.
It’s no secret that Thomas and I have been through a lot, even before we were married. We’re high school sweethearts and have been together for almost a decade! Wow- that made me feel old. There are so many memories that I’m glad we’ve shared over the last eight years. But there’s also a lot of not-so-great stuff we’ve had to deal with too. His dad passed away very unexpectedly when Thomas was just 18. Five years ago, our whole community suffered this great loss with us.
Since we’ve been married, we have again had to go through other major, unexpected losses. I know that seasons of suffering are inevitable, but when you’ve only been married six months and have to deal with pain so deep, it is hard.
Now, I’m not telling you these things to feel pity or sorrow but rather to encourage you that strong marriages are built on seasons of loss. It may be hard to even comprehend the valleys and mountains awaiting for you journey of life when you’re saying your forever vows, but I’m telling you. Deep valleys are when true love shows through. You cling to the love found in your Heavenly Father and find small ways to show Christ’s love to your spouse. No, I’m definitely no marriage expert. I haven’t even been married a year, but I know that God’s design is for us to not face life alone.
I’m a wedding photographer that gets to hear this scripture at almost every wedding. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” The love chapter in 1 Corinthians is one of my favorites. It’s God’s plan laid out for to show love and show it correctly.
If I could offer three pieces of advice to engaged couples these would be it:
1. Love is Patient
Ask Thomas if there’s one thing that you need to know about marriage, and he’ll say “Patience.” This is the first thing that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 13 about love. Patience is key. We as a society have a patience thinner than ever. We want things instantaneously and don’t know what it’s like to wait on something or someone. If you look up the word patience you’ll find varying definitions, but I think this one sums it up best. Patience: quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.
2. Love does not demand its own way
Sure, everyone has ideas of what life should be like. We get married to live happily ever after and suddenly find ourselves selfishly wanting. Wanting things, places to go, fun things to do. It’s great to have hopes and dreams. It’s fun to plan cool vacations and buy new cars, but don’t let your selfish ambition get in the way of loving your spouse. Love is selfless. Be a selfless husband and wife.
3. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
These beautiful words speak for themselves. For your love to last you have to never give up, even through the hard. Share in hope together and encourage each other that life isn’t always going to be easy, but that you’ll be there no matter what. Marriage is not designed to be temporary.
I think I’ll leave you with this. Life isn’t always good, but God is. Above all, build your foundation for marriage on the solid rock of salvation in Jesus. He will guide you to make your marriage a priority each day. Cling to faith through hard times and celebrate the joy of life that you get to be together! Our first six months of marriage have taught us more lessons than we can count. But together, with our right hands clasp to our Masters and our left hand clasp in each other’s, we face the unknown future together.
Happy 6 months of marriage, Tee! I love you so much and am so grateful to have you as my husband.
Thank you to our sweet friends Katelyn and Will for these photos!!