Last fall I gave my husband an early draft of a marriage article I was working on. After reading it, he said, "Good article. But we seem so happy." I laughed out loud; I knew exactly what he meant.
Truth was, when I was working on that article, we were going through what one might call a bad patch, a negative rut, a rough spell, an icky time, or you know, the throes of a real marriage! Brought on by the combination of little kids, little sleep, little time, and a whole lot of stress and work, we'd spent the better part of that summer snipping and snapping and just generally being disagreeable with—and unpleasant to—each other.
So it came as a shock to my husband to read about himself in such kind, loving language. Not that he didn't appreciate it. But he did wonder if it was right, my perpetuating this image of yet another tra-la-la, happily married Christian couple, when that wasn't necessarily the case, at least not as I wrote it.
While I would've stopped short of calling us unhappily married, let's just say when I heard about another young couple from our church who were splitting up during that time, my reaction wasn't the normal, "How could that happen?" Although it broke my heart and I disagreed with their decision to dissolve their marriage, I understood. Marriage is tough. Even for good Christian couples. Especially for good Christian couples.
Because on top of the usual rigmarole of dealing with life, negotiating relationships, trying to please, getting over hurts, juggling schedules, and managing expectations, Christians have this added burden of "image," right? If our marriages aren't in the right places, not only do we stink at being husbands or wives, we stink at being Christians as well! When Christian marriages flounder or fail, our entire faith is questioned.1