I started a new freelance writing job recently and my husband asked me, "When is your deadline?
I answered, "The deadline is as fast as I can get it back to them before they decide they don't like me anymore."
One might think I lack confidence. If confidence implies that I have a sense of how a thing is going to turn out, then true: I don't have confidence.
People are unpredictable. Life is unpredictable. And God's plans are sometimes confusing. With that in mind, I have fallen in love with a different word: courage. Applied to a marriage, courage can make all the difference.
But it doesn't happen much.
We usually come to our marriages with baggage from previous family relationships, previous experiences, pre-conceived notions of what to expect from a spouse—nevermind the ways we've neglected to grow ourselves and neglected to get to know God as well as we could. And there it is: a pile of not-so-pretty.
And very few of us want to tackle what isn't pretty in our marriages. Most of us don't even know how.
One of my favorite literary quotes is from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, telling his son, courage is "when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
It may seem disheartening to start a quote on courage with "you know you're licked," but Atticus' point was, you're not. Not like you think. Courage is not a prop that gets you an outcome. It's an attitude that sustains you on a journey.1