In His Arms is Home
By Maile Sundquist
It’s not often in life that you meet someone whose worldview, interests, and passions align so perfectly with yours. Someone who makes you laugh, is your sounding board and rock, is intelligent, talented, ingenuous, sensitive, not afraid to admit he loves Hello Kitty, and sexy to boot.
I met my husband in December of 1999 at a Christian college group and we’ve pretty much been inseparable ever since. It’s our eight-year wedding anniversary today, which makes it 17 years of being together. We had our first child last May, are continuing to write music together, and are daily planning our next great invention and adventure. My love and appreciation for this man knows no bounds. He is everything to me, including my editor. Without his magical editing powers my writing myte look’ somethin: like thiss for inscrutability. The “inscrutability” is autocorrect for “instance.” But seriously, this man has literally made my existence and our family possible during some of the darkest moments of my depression. He has kept things moving forward while I was treading water. Although what he does means so much, he’s obviously so much more than the things he does. It’s who he is that made me fall in love with him and keeps me in love with him. It’s the depths to which we know one another and the security I have in knowing I can trust him with my life. It’s the spark of joy I feel when I see him, no matter how I’m feeling about myself, him, or life in that moment, that warms my heart and gives me strength to face the day and is proof that I chose wisely when I said “I do.”
Relationships are amazing, life-giving, soul-reviving things, but they can also be hard work. It’s during those tough times that the promise and commitment you make to one another in your marriage vows plays its strongest roll.
Being a Christian, I believe marriage is a sacred union and a promise that you make to each other before God and friends and family to cherish, honor, respect, and care for each other until death do you part. In addition to this, there is an expectation that the community that attends your wedding will help to uphold and support your marriage relationship, but so many times this accountability falls short and the couple is left floundering in the middle of rocky seas without life support.
I have witnessed innumerable marriages fail in my lifetime. It’s heartbreaking for the couple and especially for the children if there are any involved. The family unit and marriage union is not respected and the value of a strong, stable marriage has fallen by the wayside in a culture that is driven by independence, selfishness, and pride.
It both saddens and angers me when I hear a woman complaining about her husband to a girlfriend who, rather than showing true care by offering encouragement and ideas on how to mend things with her spouse, pours gas on the fire by joining in to tear him down and in the end sometimes encourages her to leave him, saying, “You deserve better.” Now there are instances such as abuse and infidelity where things get sticky, but the flippant manner by which a lot of people discuss and handle relational struggles is broken, which inevitably leads to a broken marriage and divorce.
I know people can change or make huge mistakes but I believe marriage should be a promise that you make once, and a choice you make everyday.
Trust me, I get it. It’s hard enough to make time to care for yourself most days, so it will always be hard to care for those outside yourself. It will always be work to maintain long, meaningful, lasting relationships that stand the test of time, but it can be fun and joyful work, and it’s worth it. A relationship as long-lasting as my husband’s and mine has definitely been through, and continues to survive, its share of slings and arrows. We may have scars, but we share those scars, and they remind us of all we’ve been through, and in turn make us stronger.
If you are struggling in your marriage don’t be afraid to confide in someone you trust or make the time for counseling or just a long heart-to-heart with one another. The love you started your relationship on is worth saving and magnifying out into the world. There are always things that can be put off rescheduled or dropped altogether for the sake of unity, love, passion, and your marriage.
Even if you are carrying around emotional baggage from the day before or years before, just take hope in the fact there is always a new day dawning and with it a new chance to forgive, a new chance to ask for forgiveness, and a new chance to choose a happy, healthy, thriving marriage.