I’ve been nominated for the #LoveYourSpouse challenge. In case you haven’t seen this already, here’s what it is: for a specific number of days, you are supposed to share and celebrate your photo-ready, picture-perfect moments of marital bliss you’ve shared together. The intention is a good one: spreading love, and bragging on your spouse. Both are GOOD things to do. I love seeing those things!
…But I’m not going to take the challenge.
“Why not?!” “Don’t you love your husband?” “Is something wrong in your marriage!?”
Hang in there and give me a chance to explain myself. Don’t get me wrong- I love the idea of celebrating love, and praising your spouse both privately and publicly. It’s a GOOD and beautiful thing to spread joy when the majority of our culture has a cynical view of marriage as a whole. Anyone who knows me would be able to tell you that my husband is my favorite person in the world, and being his wife is the greatest blessing of my life. I absolutely LOVE being married to Kevin! All that said- I won’t personally be doing the “challenge”. (After all, it isn’t much of a ‘challenge’ to post fun sweet moments/photos on Facebook- we ALL do that ALL the time! That’s not hard to do.)
The REAL challenge would be vulnerability. The real challenge would be to be REAL; stepping out in humility with the acknowledgement that there’s a whole lot more to marriage than picture-perfect highlights.
Social media isn’t ‘real’- it’s a ‘highlight reel’; carefully selected moments on display for the world to see, and carefully crafted captions to project a polished image of our lives to our friends. If all you see of someone’s marriage is the ‘highlight reel’, it’s easy to think that they have a flawless relationship and a perfect shiny life.
Several of my single friends have confided in me that it’s WAY too easy for them to make an idol out of marriage/relationships; after all, they are constantly scrolling through their married friends’ highlight reels of Pinterest-worthy perfection.
That’s understandable- after all, when all we see is “perfection”, we assume (perhaps even subconsciously) that’s all there is.
That’s a problem, because there’s so much more to our marriages than all those Facebook-ready, frame-worthy photographs.
There are days when we misunderstand one another.
Moments when we battle against selfish expectations.
Days when we struggle through our own sin, and the sins of one another.
There are days that are NOT pretty, and definitely NOT Instagram-ready.
There are messy days.
But that’s ok!
Praise God that the purpose of our marriage is NOT to be perfect!
The purpose of our marriage is to glorify God.
When our messiest days are turned into invaluable learning opportunities, God is GLORIFIED and we need to share those stories!
When Jesus redeems our most difficult moments, we need to share those stories, and other people need to hear them!
Maybe those stories can be shared publicly, or maybe just privately to encourage and uplift others who might be struggling through similar things.
Sharing the beautiful moments I’ve had with Kevin is an easy thing to do. It’s not really a ‘challenge’. I’m a ‘picture-person’, and I love pictures. I love dressing up, capturing joyful moments, and sharing them with the world. My husband is my hero, and it’s not difficult to brag about my hero. However, being vulnerable with others- sharing where I struggle and how God is teaching me how to be a better wife and friend to my husband- now THERE is a seriously TOUGH challenge!
I want to take THAT challenge. Even though it doesn’t have a trendy hashtag. Yet. 😉
After all, the deepest beauty of this first year of marriage didn’t just come through those ‘photo-ready’ moments. It came through a mutual understanding that we will NEVER stop trying our hardest to put Christ first in our relationship, and that we have committed to invest in our love for one another no matter how we are ‘feeling’ in the moment.
Loving your spouse.
It’s not always glamorous. But it’s always worth it.