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Has marriage been easy for you and a piece of cake with no effort? If so you must have a fairytale happily ever after marriage.

Ok now you can stop laughing at the ridiculousness of those statements. Most people know that marriage is not easy, and it takes a lot of hard work. But still many people have a happily ever after mindset going into marriage. It’s like they have a hidden desire and expectation that all will be amazing and beautiful all the time.

This week my husband and I are celebrating 18 years of being married, and I can testify that the place we are in now has taken a lot of hard work to get to, maintain, and protect. Marriage is a wonderful thing that God created, but because of the pain, brokenness, and sin in this world, it’s impossible to have a happily ever marriage.

The Marriage Box

I came across this quote about marriage a while back and was struck by it’s truth and how it combats the happily ever after marriage mindset:

The Marriage Box: Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for; Companionship, intimacy, friendship etc … The truth is, that marriage at the start is an empty box, you must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage, love is in people, and people put love in marriage. There is no romance in marriage, you have to infuse it into your marriage. A couple must learn the art, and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.”

Reflection questions to ask yourself:

  • What does your marriage box look like?
  • Is it full? Empty? Overdrawn by one or both people?
  • Do both of you put in as much as you take out?
  • Is the box broken down unable to hold anything and needs some help to repair it?
  • How often do you intentionally invest in your marriage?
  • What things do you do to take out of it?
  • Do you get resentful about putting something into the box?
  • Do you feel guilt for taking out of it?

I encourage you to take this quote to heart if you are married. If you are unmarried, think about how this concept applies to any relationship- not just romantic ones. Your expectations matter. Mutual sacrifice is part of loving. Give and take won’t always be equal, but it should be mutual.

You can make a big difference in your relationship when you make an effort. Think about what you can put in your marriage box each day, and have a giving heart that is focused on the betterment of your spouse and the marriage. Let go of selfish pride and love your spouse the way they need to be loved. Fill up your marriage box!

How do you respond when expectations in your relationship aren’t met?