Standard of Loving


photostock couple

(Image by Photostock, courtesy of

Occasionally we all hear stories of young married couples who are simply unrealistic about the standard of living they will have when they first start out. Sometimes they are spoiled and have a sense of entitlement, but more often they probably just haven’t stopped to consider all the years it took their parents to achieve the lifestyle they’re enjoying by middle age. When young adults have lived all their lives in a comfortable, well-appointed home in a good neighborhood (heck, lots of us have home gyms and maybe a pool)… when they’ve had late-model cars to drive and plenty of new clothes and access to the latest technology…when they’ve been on nice vacations and kicked back on nice furniture and never had to worry about much of anything in the way of material goods, getting married and surviving on entry-level paychecks must feel a lot like a step down.

A young wife and husband might look around at their humble abode and their meager bank balance and feel that something is very wrong; something must be corrected as soon as possible, because this is failure! They got married expecting to be free and happy, not to be less free and less happy than they were back home. Sometimes they are unable to tolerate a period of relative austerity, and they foolishly go into debt to keep up the style to which they’re accustomed. They may blame one another for overspending and under-earning. A wife, especially, may come to feel that her husband’s inability to give her all the things her parents gave her translates into an actual lack of love or dedication.

We should probably all prepare our children from the cradle to expect to start at the bottom of the ladder economically, so that while it may not be fun, at least it won’t be a shock to their systems.

But it occurs to me that young adults may also be failing to realize the years of work it took their parents to find happiness, comfort, and stability in their relationship. My daughter looks at my husband and me and knows that for all of our ups and downs (some of which she witnessed) we have a permanent bond. We’ve been united for as long as she can remember, and she has watched us reaching goals together, spending time together, and now finally settling in for the second half of life together. Meanwhile, though she has a long-term boyfriend, her future is still to be determined.

And my young work-friends in their twenties…they overhear the pleasant phone chats I have with my husband when he calls me during his lunch hour to ask about my day and discuss what we have planned for the evening. I often tell these young ladies funny stories about happenings at home, or mention our comfortable, well-worn marriage routines. Now  I know twenty-somethings never envy the middle-aged; I’m not flattering myself that much! But I do suspect that when their relationships are rocky, or just poorly defined (“Am I his girlfriend or just a casual date?” “Is this marriage really what I wanted?”)…they might be casting a slightly-wistful eye over at me, living in the land of Security.

But, oh, there is so much about us they don’t know! So much they will never be told about the trials we’ve gone through..the temper tantrums, the bad habits and attitudes that were eventually adjusted. I will never tell them some of the detrimental things we blithely did in pursuit of excitement, and I may not ever share the selfish, callous, mean-spirited things we did to break each other’s hearts. Incidents have occurred between my husband and me that were so painful, recovering from them took years.YEARS, I’m telling you, when there were no pleasant giggly lunchtime phone calls. YEARS when we went through the motions, but the love between us had gone underground.  

Thankfully, we’ve forgotten some of it ourselves, now that we’ve gotten the hang of marriage. All of us who have been blessed to be married a long time may get so comfortable that we forget what it was like to be otherwise, and neglect to tell our grown children or our younger sisters or friends that a happy marriage can take a very long time to finally solidify.

I hope these words will give encouragement to any young person reading them in the midst of a marriage struggle.  Don’t assume that your marriage is a failure because you and your husband don’t have the bond and camaraderie that your mom and dad may have. Don’t assume that because things seem to be in a million pieces today, the Lord can’t glue them back together tomorrow. In exactly the way that it takes years to earn material assets, it might take your marriage a while to find its groove. Persevere, pray, and determine to show your husband the same kind of love you did on your wedding day! Don’t worry right now what he’s giving you in return. You are responsible before God for  your OWN behavior, not his. So start there. (I feel compelled to say that if your husband is actually harming your or endangering your life, however, you should seek help.)

  To the more “seasoned” ladies, let’s make it a point this week to share with younger women that our marriages were not always well-oiled machines, but the rewards of staying together make the struggles so worthwhile.


(PS–If you never have, go to my “About Me” page for two pictures that might just make you smile. :-) )

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tmpresser
    Nov 10, 2014 @ 23:52:14

    This is a great post and you are so right. Sometimes it takes years of hard work to make a great marriage and it doesn’t happen overnight. How can we expect 2 people to come together from 2 different backgrounds and not have different expectations. Thank you for sharing on Good Morning Mondays


  2. Heidi
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 02:48:07

    Thank you for this post, it was a timely reminder. Having been married a decade, one would like to believe that those rough spots would be smoothed out by now, but they’re not. I was sharing other night with a close single girlfriend. She was asking about marriage and as I shared with her, I reminded myself that God can take lame marriages and restore them; giving them legs to not just walk, but leap and bound or dance and swirl. I have indeed seen this in my own parents’ marriage and am praying in faith to see it my marriage one day as well. Thank you again for sharing!


  3. Sweet-Water-and-Bitter
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 11:08:25

    It can happen, Heidi. We were still acting like idiots around our 15th anniversary, I recall. And there is no saying that we’re in the clear now and will never do anything stupid and hurtful again. Sometimes we’re thick-headed and have to learn the same lesson again and again before it sticks. But then one day you wake up and realize you’re hurting someone you love and you’re hurting yourself and, by extension, your kids, and maybe you just decide to settle down and apply yourself to marriage. I hope that day comes soon for you and your husband.


  4. Pam@over50feeling40
    Nov 13, 2014 @ 14:27:51

    After thirty years of marriage, I look back at how much we overcame in our younger years. Anything can be forgiven and healed. Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!


  5. Nita
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 11:46:37

    This post is spot on. When I first got married, my husband and I lived in a room we rented in a townhouse. We didn’t even feel lighted we were so in love. Twenty years later, several big houses later, we are back in a townhome for our downsizing stage of life. Even so, our younger kids have an unrealistic view of what it takes to make a living. However, I’m working hard at grounding them. I’m visiting from Weekly Wrapup.


  6. Beth
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 12:47:09

    I have thought about this a lot as I watch my oldest daughter, newly married….a lot of reflecting. Great post!!


  7. christinamorley
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 15:09:53

    Thanks for linking on Amanda’s Books and More! I read both your interesting posts. Thanks for sharing! Marriage is a tough thing to navigate. I’m glad you two are going strong. Since you found my one blog, let me introduce you to another one of mine. I have recently posted a poem and mini series on Christian marriage:


  8. passagethroughgrace
    Nov 15, 2014 @ 20:13:54

    Amen to life experience and to sharing it with younger women or men. We don’t realize when we are young the struggles that accompany the joy are needed to grow us and to learn the life experience to carry on.
    Blessed you joined The Weekend Brew today!


  9. Brittany at
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 02:13:48

    So encouraging! I don’t think it’s just an age thing either. I think people of all ages shy away from sharing the “bad” parts of their marriages–and then we all feel like we’re the only ones who have them. Thanks for sharing on Equipping Godly Women Fellowship Fridays!


  10. Bekki@a better way to homeschool
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 05:36:22

    What a great word of encouragement!
    I have been married to my love for over 25 years now (sheesh, I do not feel that old, but we have been together longer than we have been apart now!).
    We have weathered pretty much every storm imaginable together. When we were first married we had two lawn chairs and a blow up mattress, now we have 5 boys, a dog, a beautiful home and each other. We have survived the years of heartache, disappointment, sickness, and poverty. While many of our 25 years were rocky, we pressed through, dug deeper, and worked harder at our marriage. I wouldn’t trade a day!


  11. Hazel Moon
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 15:49:58

    Our marriage started out in a one room apartment with kitchenette, and roll down wall bed, plus a share bath and we were content. A few months later we moved to a furnished upstairs flat with real bedroom, but we needed to purchase our first piece of furnature, a refrigerator. My mother went with me to Montgomery Wards and signed for me to get credit. What a blessing that was. Since then we have lived in better homes, even mansions, and now live in a modular home (like a mobile home.) but we are content. Dec 1 we will celebrate 65 years of marriage and are still in love. I am a near neighbor at Sunday Stillness.


    • Sweet-Water-and-Bitter
      Nov 16, 2014 @ 19:38:02

      Wow, 65 years! Congratulations to you. Sometimes around my house we get to patting ourselves on the back for our 20 years, but then we have to remember every day is a gift. Unexpected things can happen any time, whether through acts of God or just human failings. We can’t take a single day for granted, can we? What a blessing that you and your hubby have enjoyed so many years together.


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