I always thought marriage was ordained by God to undermine a bruising human emotion: loneliness. God made the first people, male and female, and blessed them (Genesis 1:27). He gave them the world! The two became one and they were no longer alone.
Then came a bad choice of fruit and painful labor all around.
In a marriage, after the pretty wedding dress and pressed suits are put away, the party of two is left to piece together an enduring, anti-loneliness relationship. "To have and to hold from this day forward?" We're about to find out.
Early in our marriage, my husband said two words that had me believing in happily ever after. We were in our first apartment watching TV when he stood to get a snack from the kitchen and casually asked, "Want something?"
Want something? Were there ever spoken two more beautiful words?
I had grown up a good farm girl with four brothers and two sisters and a big kitchen that I pretended to love. Mercilessly, I scorched potatoes and charred holiday recipes for years.
Yes, I wanted something—I wanted to avoid the kitchen now and as long as we both shall live!
And I wanted a home where I didn't feel compelled to pretend.
I had the idea that a marriage was the first and best place to really be myself. My husband and I had great intentions and we wanted to know how to do up our marriage extraordinarily, astoundingly, miraculously well.
Especially since most people … don't.
We heard a lot of advice. In church one day, a pastor gave guidance on the role of men in a marriage. Then he said, "For a marriage to have a long life of peace, the woman must be the heart of the home."1