Wednesday, December 15, 2010

a gift that is never completely unwrapped

This is how a dear friend, Tonya Hammontree, described marriage in a letter the other day. Her actual words were,


"Marriage is just like a package that is never completely unwrapped. You just get to open it a little bit more each day..."


I love that. I know that there are many people who have been hurt, betrayed, and just straight-up disgusted by marriage and reading that makes you want to cuss. I understand that this view of marriage is NOT how everyone sees it and for that, I am so very sorry. God did NOT create marriage for hurt and betrayal. But the sins and selfish choices that humans make can so easily lead to this. And even in a "good" marriage, there are STILL times when you just feel beat up by marriage.

But I believe that this type of marriage is possible. And I so love the way Tonya described it. Doesn't that just make perfect sense?

A gift that is never completely unwrapped.
You unwrap a little more, day by day.

It's like Christmastime as a kid. If you're like me, you get a bazillion gifts, all completely different.

There are the random gifts. You know--those gifts you open and have NO idea what to do with. It's not a horrible gift, but you're just kind of thinking, "What in the world am I going to use this for?" You try to smile and act like it's a great gift but really, you just don't know HOW to respond. You can get upset that you got a not-so-good gift that's now going to just become another random piece of junk that you have no clue what to do with, or you can laugh! You can embrace it! You can learn to love it! I think marriage is like that somedays. You "unwrap" a little bit and think, "What in the world do I do with this???" It's not necessarily a bad thing you discover about your spouse. It's just a confusing thing. A surprising thing. Something totally random and out of the blue that kind throws a curve ball at you. I think there's a LOT of this kind of unwrapping in the early stages. At least for me there has been. I've learned to just take these things and laugh! Embrace the random, weird, different things and realize they're not so bad. In fact, they can be kind of fun.

And then there are the gifts that you just straight up do NOT want. As a kid, for me, it was barbies. If someone wasted a gift for me on barbies, I got so mad. I hated barbies! And the money they spent on Barbie or her dumb jeep could have bought me some sweet new rollerblades. I would get so mad when I got barbie stuff and my parents would just kind of sit across the room giving me the "You BETTER act like you appreciate this gift," look, in fear that I would offend the giver. I think there are definitely the gifts you do NOT want in marriage. That thing you find out about your spouse that you just don't want to have to deal with. The situation you discover that hurts so bad. The stuff that comes that you'd rather eat dirt than have to accept. There are those times. And they do stink. But I believe that with the help of the Lord, these horrible "gifts" in marriage can be overcome, forgiven, and moved beyond.

But then there are the great gifts. The ones you open and don't even have words for. The ones that just leave you jumping up and down, smiling, and throwing your arms around the giver's neck. The ones that have so much meaning and value. The ones you know you will never ever ever ever get rid of and definitely never ever forget. Like my first cowboy hat. I wanted a cowboy hat SO. STINKIN. BAD. I remember the year I got it. I was 4... maybe 5. I got a red cowboy hat AND red roper boots. I wore those EVERYwhere. Seriously. For years! I have SO many pictures of me as a kid in that thing. And guess where it is today? On my dresser in my bedroom at home. On display. It's still so very special to me. It was the PERFECT gift! It made me so happy! Sometimes it's like that... the gift you pray for and wait for and hope for and then FINALLY you get. Or sometimes these great gifts come as total surprises. You didn't even know you wanted it until you got it. I love those times!

And I believe these kinds of great gifts exist in marriage as well. Some days  you just unwrap that part of your spouse's heart that makes you feel like you could just explode with joy. You unwrap a moment together. A laugh. An accomplishment. You discover an aspect of them that, even after all that time, you had never noticed before. And you know with all your heart you have never loved them more than you do in that very moment. And you know it's a moment you will never ever ever forget. It's perfect.

I pray with all my heart that anyone in a marriage right now can still unwrap these kinds of great gifts. I know it's so hard and sometimes the gifts are so confusing and sometimes they just plain stink. It's hard! After only five months I can say it's hard at times! I can't imagine when that has been 5 years or 5 decades. I've had my share of all three kinds of gifts already. But those great gifts are worth it all. Those days when he just makes my heart SO full and my mind so thankful... the days when I just can't do anything but smile, laugh, and throw my arms around him... those days are so worth it. So worth the struggle.

If we're not careful, we can let the not-so-great gifts become all we see. We can get so distracted and run-over by the things we're just sick of dealing with. Sometimes we don't even give ourselves a chance to unwrap the good stuff.

I pray I can always remember to view marriage in this way. And to choose unwrap a little more each day. To laugh at the weird stuff, let God heal the bad stuff, and embrace, cherish, and praise Him for the great stuff!


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