Define: Marriage

What is marriage? Okay, I guess I understand what marriage is but maybe not how to be married. I thought I did though. Two become one, right? Easy enough! That means one house with one bedroom and one queen-sized bed where two become one. I got it! So, at age 19, I asked my High School sweetheart to marry me and we got married at 21. We had each other and we had love. Enter now the high paying job that made paying $60K for a college education worth it, a fur-face that serves as a starter child and more of that “two becoming one” stuff!

But somewhere along the way of my seemingly perfect plan came life. And, life brought his friend, Murphy, who boasted his law that said if something could go wrong…you’re nearly guaranteed that it will. In retrospect, I was certainly inexperienced in relationships and largely, in life. To be honest, I’m not sure that ever worked against me. We all go through that whole newlywed stage where we get introduced to the married life. You know, who’s going to do certain chores, figuring out a budget and being geeked about getting mail addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. …”. Ah yes, the joys of marital bliss!

Eleven years later, I look back and note that it’s hard to recognize that same bliss I once knew. My job isn’t considered “high paying”, we’ve added two awesome and beautiful kids to our family and that 1 + 1 = 1 thing doesn’t happen as much as it once did.

And, at some point, I stopped pursuing my wife like I did before I said “I do.” Instead, I pursued me. I never meant to stop dating my wife. I guess I didn’t know I still needed to. I thought I conquered King Coopa and won the princess on our wedding day.

What else would I have to do after that? Maybe that’s what I get for inferring marital advice from a video game.

This is the part of the story where you expect me to tell you how I saw the error of my way and swept my wife off of her feet by finding a CPR certified, former teacher nanny to babysit the kids for $5/HR so we could have a weekly date night and invest into each other, right? Or, maybe you thought I would say that I started passionately seeking my wife – not to get sex but because of love – and now we’ve just published a book on building a strong marriage? Not quite. I will say that starting today, right now, I will pursue her like Zach did Kelly, Corey did Topanga and like Uncle Jesse did Becky…have mercy!

I’m not going to be perfect at it. I think for the first few weeks she will think I want something, broke something or that I suffered a traumatic brain injury.

But I know that love fueling continual and intentional action cannot be mistaken. When you show love in a way that makes another feel loved – on purpose and without expectation of repayment – it’s as if you can actually touch their heart. You bypass the shield that we so often put up so that people don’t get too close to us.

Love conquers all. It is victorious over your past failures, your addictions and your hurts. Pursuing your spouse is worth the work. And know that it probably will be work. Things worth fighting for always have a costly price tag.

You made a commitment on your wedding day. Are you still committed or are you “just married”?

– Ben Lippens
@GodsideJCC

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Written by Godside

Ben is Holy Culture's Editorial Team Leader, managing articles and devotionals. He describes himself as a horrible sinner who has been saved only through the grace of God. He is a lover of hip-hop and a hater of skinny jeans. He and his family live in Fort Worth, Texas.

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