In most areas of our lives we can decide to move on or quit. If a job, friendship, or hairstylist is not working out, you can look elsewhere without serious consequences. Marriage is different. We face so many challenges and unexpected seasons in which we live out our vows of “for better or for worse”. When the worse happens we stick it out knowing on the other side we will see God’s glory, provision, and faithfulness.
Gary Thomas’ book Cherish calls our attention to the word cherish versus infatuation. Cherishing your spouse means that even when things get ugly, I’m not giving up on us. Infatuation is the kind of love with conditions and expectations so high that you are living in a fantasy world. Cherish means that I truly believe that you are the only one who can walk this journey with me, and I will treat you as such.
It’s easy to quit on someone who is not living up to your expectations. The question becomes are your expectations realistic, and are you in constant pursuit to call out the negative in your spouse? Every day I could pick a fight with my imperfect mate. They are, after all, human–imperfect and sinful beings.
“Without struggle, marriage is like melodrama. If God allowed infatuation to remain, how many of us would do the day-to-day work to achieve intimacy?” Gary Thomas
You’ve seen them. Newlyweds or dating couples. It’s only a matter of time when disappointment and possible contempt sets in and the work begins. Just on the other side of infatuation is cherish, and so many couples are unwilling to climb the mountain and experience cherish. They quit. It’s hard work. It’s sacrifice. It’s a battlefield.
Your marriage legacy goes beyond the toothpaste cap or toilet seat. It’s your God story for a generation not yet born. As Parish and I read the chapter “Don’t Quit”, we looked around our living room. Parish smiled and said, “Anna, look around this room. Our legacy and memories are many…..” He began to talk about Patty our cactus, the family tree that Valentina and Grandma Louise drew, the rocking chair from my great-grandfather that he refinished for Victoria’s birth over 27 years ago, the coffee table that belonged to my grandmother, the lanterns we use on snowy nights as we walk and marvel, the cast iron dog I grew up with and sits on our hearth…
Of course these are just material examples of our love, but they are reminders to us of a love that God has been working on for years. His hand in our love story.
There is no other love story like yours. Your God, love story is a shining example to the world of mercy, cherish, and the power of sticking it out even when by all accounts you could have thrown in the towel.
I encourage you to stop and look around your home. If the objects in your home could talk, what memories would they share? I encourage you to be crazy hopeful (my friend’s expression) about your future, and to celebrate the good things in your spouse. I encourage you to purchase the book Cherish by Gary Thomas and read it together as a couple. Take your time with it. Parish and I have been reading the book for two months, and we are on chapter 7.
If you feel like quitting, remember cherish and seek the help your marriage deserves.
I dedicate this post to my parents who will celebrate their 60th, diamond anniversary in August 2017. They are not quitters; they cherish.
My husband and I sang this song as a duet at weddings in the 80s. I hope you will listen to this song for the meaning and be spurred on in your love story. Try not to be critical of the 80’s music, but be motivated by the words. 🙂