When Life gets in the way of marriage

When Life gets in the way of marriage

by Ayo Omopariola, Pastoral Resident

“When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.”

That quote by Prince Philip makes me smile because it reminds me of a comment an old friend made years ago when he saw me opening the car door for my now wife. Giggling, he essentially said, “You won’t be doing that after you get married.” I was determined to prove him wrong, but I must confess he was right. There are still those rare instances when I remember, but it’s nowhere near the same frequency as when we were dating (my wife will tell you that too).

As I reflect on this, I realize that proving someone wrong is not the best motivation for love. While I’m sure my wife would’ve appreciated consistency from me when it came to her car door, I suspect she would not be thrilled to find out it was motivated by a desire to say, “I told you so” to someone else. I’ve found that a better motivation for love is grace.

There have been important dates I’ve forgotten, responsibilities I’ve neglected, and promises I made that I sadly didn’t fulfill. And when I think about how my wife has graciously endured my failures and shortcomings over the course of our marriage, I’m often left thinking, “I don’t deserve a woman like this.” The funny thing is, if she was writing this she would probably say the same thing about me. I think that’s part of what makes our relationship beautiful: we both realize our marriage is a true gift that neither of us deserve.

I believe that our rhythms such as daily morning text message prayers for each other after arriving at work, daily lunch hour “check-in” phone calls, and daily evening prayer before bed (even when one of us is already passed out in dream world) is because both of us still haven’t gotten over the fact that neither of us deserve each other.

Of course there is a danger in expressing love the same way for years and years. It can get mundane and trite. Honestly, there have been many times I’ve sent more than one of those morning texts without much thought, and yes I’m usually the one who already fell asleep while my wife lays her hand on my do-rag and prays for me. Though we do like to find new and fun ways to express our love toward one another, there is something about knowing that even after we’ve had the worlds biggest argument (or so we think) or we’re drained from work and child responsibilities, there will still be a text, a call, and a prayer.

I guess this only makes sense because after all these years neither one of us have gotten over the fact that in a place far away and a time long ago, there was a bloody cross and an empty tomb. We both have a relationship with Jesus that we don’t deserve but was gifted to us because of grace. It only makes sense that we view our marriage the same way.

There are difficult times within marriage where it seems we are standing back to back with each other. There are busy times within marriage often surrounding kids, events, work, and home responsibilities where it seems we are standing shoulder to shoulder with each other to simply get things done. But then there are those sweet moments when we are so intimately connected that it feels like we are standing face to face, knowing one another deeply and being fully known like we are in Christ. Those are the moments I live for.