They say it’s the most important day of your life. The white dress, the “I do’s,” months of planning finally coming to fruition. That one day is so full of love, community and purpose – but will that sense of purpose and love last a lifetime?
Looking back at our wedding, I knew that marriage wasn't going to be easy. I was prepared to tackle unexpected arguments and disagreements, and of course we have. But after being married a few years, the unspoken challenge is learning to identify the small daily opportunities to express and receive the same purposeful love experienced on that first day.
I usually identify these opportunities in the parts of marriage that don’t seem glamorous. They don’t show up in my Instagram story or my Facebook status, but they are the shared secrets that keep our romance strong.
When I come home from work to an endless pile of dishes.
When I find 3 loads of unfolded laundry on our bedroom floor.
When the car breaks down.
These are the moments that I’ve learned to love my husband the most and in my opinion, these instances offer greater value than the wedding itself.
In these moments, I have the opportunity to transform a mundane activity into an act of great love. Granted I don’t always choose this – sometimes I do the dishes, other times I complain – but it’s my chance to create a better living environment for the man I love. It’s my chance to live out the vows that I announced so boldly on that first day.
The last few months I’ve really been trying to live this out – offering up my best in marriage without expecting anything in return. Naturally, I fail at this all the time but the idea is to keep trying. Not too long after making this goal, I found myself exhausted. I wasn’t sleeping well, we were still recovering from a recent move, I was giving my all at work and trying to be available to others. It was too much and everything piled up.
That Thursday evening I came home late, parked my car in the driveway, and cringed at the thought of walking inside to the disaster I left behind. As I entered the front door, there was my husband. In an apron. Moping the floor. Dinner was on the stove, the bed was made, our closets of boxes were organized, and everything in the house neatly in its place. It was heroic. And it gave me the strength to keep going.
Every day there are small opportunities to express radical love for your spouse. These are our opportunities to live the vows that we once romantically proclaimed and harness the sense of purpose we felt on that first day.