The first week I had my engagement ring I treated it like it was made of glass. I would clean it repeatedly and I gaze at it. But as the months went on, it became a part of me. I didn't notice it anymore.
When our one year engagement anniversary rolled around, I took it off to get cleaned. I thought it would take only a couple of hours, but turns out it was a couple-of-days thing.
As we stood waiting, the employee tossed an envelope with my name on it across the counter.
"Ya, just place the ring in there. We should have it done by next week," she said distracted with other customers.
I looked at Bryan and gulped. I slowly pulled off my ring. I felt like I was handing over my first-born child. I placed it in the envelope and said a small prayer hoping I would get it back.
The next week, my left hand felt so naked. I missed my ring.
Finally, the day came for me to get it back. When I tore open the envelope, it seemed to glow from the inside. I happily placed it back on my finger and marveled at how shiny it was. I never even knew that it was dirty in the first place!
On the car ride home, as I once again stared at the clarity of the diamond...it hit me.
Marriage is like a wedding ring.
At first glance, a ring may seem dainty and delicate, but in fact, it's strong and beautiful. It wasn't always bright and shiny. At one time it was buried deep inside a rock. But It went through a really intense refining process for it to become what it is now. Refining isn't really a feel-good process. It sounds nice and fuzzy, but in reality, it's hard. Especially when you don't like change.
When I was single, all my married friends would tell me how hard marriage was and how "refining" it was. Being naive and desperate to not be single, I thought, "YES! YES! I love being refined! I just want to be married!"
But after a rollercoaster of a first year of marriage, I laugh at myself for thinking that way because my friends were right.
Marriage is hard. Marriage is stupid, crazy hard. But so worth it.
When you're single, you can ignore the sin in your life and it won't affect anyone. You can pretend to be blissfully unaware. But in marriage, your sin affects your spouse. It sneaks its way into your life and shows up at the most random times. You can either ignore it, hurting yourself and your spouse, or you can repent and change.
I thought our relationship was delicate and frail the first few months of marriage. But after one particular argument, something changed.
We had been fighting about something and we had our backs turned to one another on the couch. He was angry, I was crying. Suddenly, I began to flashback to all of my previous horrible dating relationships. The ones where the guy just slowly faded away and grew disinterested in me.
"He doesn't love me. He is tired of seeing me. He is probably regretting marrying me, " I thought to myself.
"Do you love me?" my voice cracked.
He turned with furrowed brows. He could tell something was up.
"Yes, I love you very much," he said.
But at this point I believed all the lies I had told myself. I let my anxiety and doubt swim in my head.
"You aren't funny enough. You aren't pretty enough. He is so bored with you," the lies whispered. I sat for a few minutes in silence, the wheels turning in my head.
"Do you really love me?" I asked again.
He scooted towards me on the couch and embraced me. It was one of those giant, enveloping bear hugs. It was really disarming because a few seconds ago I was sure he was going to walk out the door in anger.
"I made a covenant before God to love you and to cherish you. I will never leave you. I am going absolutely nowhere," he said softly as he brushed my hair that had been stuck on my tear-stained cheeks.
It was then I knew that true covenant marriage isn't fragile. It's beautiful and messy. It brings out the worst and the best of you.
So now every time I catch a glimpse of my wedding ring, I smile and am reminded of the refinement, beauty, and strength of a God-centered marriage.
What is something thing that God has taught you through marriage?