Since I am a new contributor to this column, I thought there’s no better way to kick it off than by scaring you all away with intimate details of my marriage and not so pretty details of my character...
I’m 35 and divorced. I’m now on my second marriage, which is four years young (who better to write a column on marriage?!). If you had been following me on social media in recent years, you would have seen all the typical things: a picture-perfect engagement in Mexico, a fun wedding in Las Vegas, lots of trips as a couple filled with happy smiling “in love” faces and, more recently, the birth of our son and all the joy that has brought.
However, behind the Facebook and Instagram veil are failed expectations, and the arguments following them. I guess I must have “missed” posting about the years of infertility we experienced and the arguments following them. Of course, my social media didn’t detail our trials in parenting responsibilities and the arguments following them.
God says in Romans, chapter 12, verse 18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As these arguments multiplied in my “picture-perfect marriage,” I could not understand why my husband did not see what God was trying to tell him through this verse.
In different times in my marriage, I have found myself in a place of despair. A place where the devil is winning and I feel too angry or hopeless to see a world where Phil, my husband, and I can be happily married. Moments with tears running down my face as my mind repeats “now what?” over and over again. In many of these situations throughout our marriage, God has softly whispered to me, “choose love.” I have “selective hearing” sometimes, and I instead give Phil the silent treatment and scroll through Instagram looking at everyone else’s perfect life.
But alas, God teaches us in Ephesians, chapter 5, about the union of marriage and its pairing of a husband and wife together in such a way that the two become one. Little affects one without affecting the other. God put it on my heart this week to tell you that no marriage is perfect. We should never believe the lies that say, because our marriage does not look like Ken and Barbie Instagram, then our marriage is a failure. We should choose love, sacrifice and grace. Just as our Father God has done for us.
One of the greatest tools the enemy uses against us is comparison. Comparison is the very thief of our joy. Add a little comparison into a marriage situation. Compound it with the spice of isolation. And you’re left with a door wide open for the devil and his destruction. And since God loves marriage, you can bet the enemy is coming for it with all he’s got.
We know we are sinners, and God knows it too. He doesn’t ask for perfection in our relationship with Him, but rather our commitment. As we choose love over perfection in those “now what” moments in marriage, we mirror God’s love to our spouse and any little eyes and ears in the room. As we honor our commitment to marriage over honoring perfection or comparison, we shine light into the dark cave where the devil wants to hold us hostage.
Marriage is likely the hardest thing most of us will ever do. Yet God loves marriage. He gives us marriage because it is good and brings many fruitful things to our lives. It builds our character as one iron sharpens the other. Some days it may feel like there’s a “now what” marriage moment around every corner we turn. Meanwhile, the rest of the married world is sipping champagne in matching bathrobes.
As Christians we come armed with God’s love. Let’s choose it. Let’s choose our spouse and messy Sunday mornings sipping lukewarm coffee in ratty bathrobes. Because “now what” really is right now, with this love, this person and this moment which will soon become a memory.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtue put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:13-14
Chelsea Rosty, a Grand Junction native, is a Univ. of Wyoming alum in Marketing and Economics (to say nothing of being on the university Rodeo Team). She is Director of Business Innovation for the City of Montrose. She serves on several local nonprofits and does CrossFit in addition to her duties as a wife and mother of one. She is active at Grace Community Church.