Book Inspirations · Marriage

An Unsolvable Puzzle

Very excitedly ringing the Church bell after our ceremony
Very excitedly ringing the Church bell after our ceremony
One of my favorite shots with Yosemite Falls behind us
One of my favorite shots with Yosemite Falls behind us

Now that I have a bit of extra time while on break from school I decided it would be good to pick up my book The Meaning of Marriage written by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller and give it the attention and time it deserves. Have any of you read it, or heard of it or Timothy Keller?

My husband bought me this book just before the Fall semester started and I managed to read up through the beginning of Chapter 2 when I decided it was best I set it aside until the semester was done because I wanted to make sure and give it my full attention rather than just get through it for the sake of getting through it (I’ve never been this kind of reader).

Being the romantic at heart that I am, I have to admit that I was a bit thrown when I read his first line on the back cover of the book “I’m tired of listening to sentimental talks on marriage…While marriage is many things, it is anything but sentimental. Marriage is glorious but hard”. I had to admit that at first I thought, not sentimental? Yet his words rang true and I’m glad I kept reading because I found myself agreeing with him, that in fact marriage is anything but a fairy tale. Ah, but don’t get me wrong either, while it is no fairy tale and requires a lot of hard work, it is indeed glorious, and I’m so thankful to God for the blessing of being married to my husband because there is no one else I’d rather be with and sharing this “unsolvable puzzle” with.

When I look back at this past year and all the changes that come with having a baby I almost blush when I think back to the times when I was a bit of an emotional and frustrated mess and I would say in tears to my husband after going off on one of my rants “This is not me, this is not us, I am not this bitchy”. It’s comical to think about now! And my husband would soothe and encourage me by reminding me that we were going through new changes and things would get better. I felt like a tsunami of emotions was taking over me and my normal self was drifting off further into sea.

And that’s why I understood what Timothy Keller meant when he said he believed all he wrote about marriage being hard work, an unsolvable puzzle, and no fairy tale, “and yet there’s no relationship between human beings that is greater or more important than marriage…and that is why, like knowing God himself, coming to know your spouse is difficult and painful – yet rewarding and wondrous”. Well, I thought, I’m in!

So I’m going to try and share whenever possible some of the things that stand out the most to me as I’m reading the book, and so this brings me to this last quote for this post, which I found to be so powerful and which made me realize that it is when we idealize someone or a relationship that we find ourselves surprised as we go through the changes in marriage.

Marriage brings you into more intense proximity to another human being than any other relationship can. Therefore, the moment you marry someone, you and your spouse begin to change in profound ways, and you can’t know ahead of time what those changes will be. So you don’t know, can’t know, who your spouse will actually be in the future until you get there.

And it’s true, I could see it in my own marriage with my husband and how we are nowhere near the same people we were the day we got married. Since that day I have shared more intimate and deep conversations and experiences of my life with my husband than I have ever with someone else, and I realize that there are many new things I learn about my husband with each day and the more we share and experience together the more that connection deepens. Because not only have we shared some wonderful moments, but we’ve also seen more of our personalities and each others weirdnesses and vulnerabilities.

I’ve learned, often times the difficult way, how important it is to communicate, be flexible, not get lost in my own self centeredness, have balance, and to make sure that God is at the center of our marriage and our actions and decisions. All this is a work in progress daily for me and something that I hope to continously improve on and put into practice, and I look forward to learning more about myself as I continue to read his book.

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