“Mawwiage is an institution.”

While I love The Princess Bride, I don’t believe that quote is true. Especially as someone who works at an institution (the higher ed kind, not the mental kind). I believe marriage is much more, and while I haven’t experienced that aspect of life yet, I can appreciate it.

While the divorce rate climbs annually, and the Christian faith lends to that rate much more than any of us would like, I have hope in marriage. Here’s why…

God has given me great examples of marriage in my life. In fact, I am engulfed with them when I take a moment to see it. All of these marriages that I set as “examples” are not without stress or strain. I’m pretty sure most of the couples don’t realize that I often listen more intently around them or see things that I pray for in my own marriage I hope to one day have.

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I see my parents married 42 years next month. Knowing me, I can tell you I don’t know how they did it during my teenage years. Seeing my mother have unwavering faith that my father would come to Christ, seeing her endure so much while working full-time, and seeing him embrace a new life in Christ that allowed him to be the man I always looked to in my life. I love that after 42 years they still tell each other “love you” as they leave the house. They’ve shown me that marriage isn’t weighing and balancing on a scale, it’s often one pulling the other up through prayer and faith, and allowing weakness to be present.

I see my sister and brother in law’s marriage of 14 years grow in their relationship with Christ. I love that my brother in law cooks on Mondays as my sister teaches at the co-op that day. I love how they love so many of the same things, yet are different. I see how welcoming they make their home for family and are raising two sons to be respectful, God-loving young men…

I see my boss and her husband manage a full life with three boys. I see how much she loves him in taking care of him when he goes down sick. I see the small pats on the leg he gives her when we meet him for lunch. Small gestures reflect a deeper love to me, that it becomes just part of your nature to pour out that love in every day moments. I see that faith is an integral part to their marriage and that it is okay if one is at a different pace on their faith than another. They are journeying it together and that’s the biggest thing I see and take heart in from them.

There are so many others I see that just fill me with such admiration and desire to have that level of relationship with a man. I understand it is in God’s timing and there are days I get frustrated with His clock, but then I have moments like these where I am able to take note of the strong marriages around me and learn from them and grow in God from them.

Thank you to each married couple that is in my life. You show aspects of what a God-centered, faith-filled life with another is like for a single woman.

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