I have friends that groan all the time about how marriage is hard. And while I agree with the implied meaning behind that statement, I balk at it being a healthy focal point.

My eyes will see what I focus on, especially with these new glasses. I prefer a different definition.

Marriage is Courage.

If the only preparation for my union with another soul is how hard it is going to be, I’ll reach that goal fairly quickly.  I’ll find it when our wills collide over something stupid like what color comforter to chose for our new house. I discovered it when I realized my partner liked the TV on for noise first thing in the morning and I prefer spatial silence til about 10am.

When two people decide to blend their lives together, there is a lot that goes into that recipe that does not appear to belong. I either develop a taste for it or figure out how to change the recipe.

Courage moved me over the years to face the hard parts of marriage. Courage was my decision to not settle for what was and reached for what could be. It takes Courage to take the vow seriously, “for better or for worse.” It seems like we had our fair share of the “or for worse” part toward the end.

Courage calls each other to shoulder the weight of the vow together.  If the relationship is lopsided in its responsibility, Courage will address that. In some cases, “or for worse” means abuse has appeared.  Courage is then called upon to move toward safety. Courage doesn’t always mean staying together.

If marriage is just plain hard but the goal is to not split up, that’s a recipe with a very bland outcome.

Now that my marriage is over by death, I can reflect back on it and see where Courage began to develop in my heart. As I grew in Faith and Wisdom, Courage gave me new confidence to not be passive. In many ways, that made things worse between us. The old dysfunctional patterns that were forged in our early years needed an upgrade, and Courage helped make the decision.

Yes, marriage is hard, but so is Life in general. Raising kids is hard. Losing weight is hard.  Getting in shape is hard. But there must be a higher goal, a better objective to focus on.

And Courage will do its best to get you there.

Make today count.

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