There will come a day where you stand across from the person you have fallen head over hills for. You will look them in their eyes with such happiness because the day has finally arrived. In a matter of moments you will go from single to married. You may have dreamed about this day since you were a child. You probably imagined the type of person you were going to marry, even creating a list of the qualities and traits you wanted your future spouse to have. And when the day arrives, I pray that you remember this.
There will be good days in your marriage.
There will be days where your spouse will do something so romantic for you. There will be days where you will feel the same butterflies in your stomach as you did when you first started dating. There will be celebrations. There will be date nights. There will be days where you will feel as though you are living in a dream because things just keep getting better and better. There will be moments where you are living the “better, richer and in health” part of your marriage vows. Embrace those days. Remember and keep note of those days.
Because there will be bad days.
The newlywed period doesn’t last forever. There will be days where you have to fight for your marriage. There will be days where you will fight. There will be times of struggle. There will be days where the vows you recited "worse, poorer and in sickness" become a reality. We all want the fairy tale marriage. But life doesn't always look like the pretty pictures we see on social media. Seven years ago I stood across from my husband and recited the vows “For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health." We experienced the "better, richer and in health." Those times were great and I marked them in my memory. Because we also experienced "for worse, for poorer and in sickness." There were times we did eat from the dollar menu. There were times we only had enough to pay the bills. There were times that date nights consisted of sitting on the front porch when our children were sleeping inside. We had disagreements and didn't always see eye to eye.
And since bad days will come, what I am about to write is so important:
It doesn’t matter so much what the person looks like. A size two is not better than a size 14. It doesn’t matter really the texture of one’s hair. Curly is not better than straight. It doesn’t matter the physique of one’s body. A six-pack is not better than a belly. It doesn’t matter one’s status. An educated person is no better than a laborer. It doesn’t matter the salary. Six figures is no better than five. It doesn’t matter the type of house. A mansion is no better than an apartment. It doesn’t matter if they can afford to purchase you expensive gifts, drive a fancy car, have a corner office and look like a model.
A person’s character matters. Because when the bad days come (and they will) the qualities of the person you married is what matters the most.
What matters is how will they react during times of struggle. Because there will be times of struggle. We all have the dream that life will always go according to our plans, but there are times when life feels like a nightmare. Before you get married don't focus so much on whether or not they are "tall, dark, wealthy and handsome" or "beautiful and skinny." At the top of your list that you have concerning a future spouse write "Character matters."
This is what matters the most:
How will they react when life falls apart? Because sometime during your marriage, life will fall apart. Will they hold your hand and provide encouragement and support if you are laid off from your job? Will they support you if you are unable to afford the house with the white picket fence and you have to live in the fixer-upper that you can't actually afford to fix up? Will they stand by your side when date night consists of choosing what is on the dollar menu at the fast food restaurant because you can't afford the prices on the five star menu? Will they embrace you if you suffer the devastation of a miscarriage? Will they tell you that they still love you and that you are enough when the doctor's tell you that you will never have children? Will they forgive you when you make mistakes? Will they stand by you when your figure changes after having children? Will they hold your hand and wipe your tears when the doctor's tell you that there is no cure? Will they love you even if you can't afford the nice vacations and fancy clothes?
Good times will come in your marriage. Mark those times in your memory. Engrave them on your heart. And when the bad times come hold on to your marriage. Remember the person you stood across on your wedding day. Remind yourself the reasons you got married. And know bad times don't last forever.