“A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, But a perverse tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit” -Proverbs 15:4 (AMP).
Truth: I am a hope-full romantic. I don’t admit this to anyone so the fact I am confessing this publicly indicates “I mean business”. So it would be of no surprise why every time I see a healthy prosperous marriage, I compliment the wife about how encouraging it is to see a marriage centered in Christ. And you know the response I always get, “Thank you. It’s hard work.” Other times, people respond with, “Thank you, it’s not easy it takes effort.” I get it, I do. Or at least I think I do..from a single lady perspective, you don’t want others to get a misconception of “marriage”. I understand you want to make it known that “marriage” is a lifetime commitment, a vow between a man and wife before God. It’s a serious matter, not something to jump into or take lightly, but people stop calling it “hard work”.
There is approximately 171,478 words currently in use in the dictionary, surely there is a word more suitable to still express the seriousness of marriage without labeling it as “hard work”. Now before all my married friends, start deleting me, hear me out. Let me explain why I get so discouraged and at times passionately upset about hearing “hard work” as a means to describe marriage.
First, I am single. I am not just single but a lady who is a hope-full romantic and dreams of her wedding day. Dreams of the day I will just know that it is “him” who’m I have been patiently waiting for. So yes, this may be interpreted as an askew viewpoint, but again hear me out. Second, I believe in the power that, words hold the great power of bringing life or death. For this reason I chose the epithet above, but more on that later. Third, Scripture states in Ephesians 5: 25-27:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”.
The chapter, continues to describe marriage and the functioning role of a husband and wife, but my point is this: where did Scripture label marriage as “hard work”? It didn’t. The verses speak about love and care, and alludes to sacrifice (sure ‘Hard work” can be read between the lines) but do we call our relationship with Christ as hard work? When someone says, “I admire your faith. Or your faith is strong”. Do we respond with, “thank you it’s hard work.”?
We don’t hear our pastors speaking those words over living a Christian day to day life. And as a Christian I can attest that it not always easy to “turn the other cheek”, to not speak before it’s time, etc, yet I don’t call my relationship with Christ as “hard work”. Why do you think that is?
I think the answer lies within the epithet above: Proverbs 15:4. We understand the power of the tongue, and know that speaking “hard work” over our Christian life has the power to discourage, overwhelm, and depress our walk of faith. So, if we deter from speaking that over our faith, why speak it over something as pure and powerful as marriage? If marriage is not about happiness, but about holiness. If marriage is about having a lifetime equal partner to fulfill God’s mission on this earth (Gen 2 & 3; Matt 28:16-20) then why speak “hard work” over one’s marriage? I believe that by speaking that phrase one is setting themselves up for difficulty and disagreements. I refuse to believe in the “seven year itch” and all of those myths about marriage. Even if they are true and one day I walk through them, I will not accept it. My God is bigger than statistics. He is bigger than past experiences, and I am believing against those things and believing that my husband will share those views with me. The belief that our words are powerful, and the tongue holds the power of bringing life or death, strength or weakness, belief or doubt, peace or unrest, love or strongly dislikes.
These are my views, and for some time have been wanting to write this but was always afraid of the outcome. I feared social media and the possible negative responses this post would bring. I feared what will others think of me? What if they don’t like me anymore? But after many months of going “back and forth” on this post, I decided no, I need to say something. It really does upset me beyond discouragement when I hear that phrase. It shouldn’t but it does. I mean when you look at it from another point, “hard work” does hold the connotation of pride, reward, fulfillment, accomplishment, effort, perseverance, endurance, and commitment. But from a millennial perspective, “hard work” is not something that pop culture embraces and inspires goal setting, instead it’s discouraging at least to the masses.
So perhaps we can come up with a better term, one that still encompasses seriousness, commitment, passion, perseverance, reward, accomplishment, and life?
I propose, “adventure”. You know you are in it for the long run, but surprises await you just around the corner. There is uncertainty but a mutual goal is what keeps you going. You prepare for the most part, and are willing to sort out the unknowns together. At least that’s my definition.
Thank you for visiting, reading, and being patient with this hope-full romantic. I truly appreciate you for taking the time with this post. I hope you come back, and that you are not too upset with me for my boldness this time. I like to think of this post as a freshly brewed dark roast cup of coffee. It’s bitter tasting but the strength is definitely evident in the taste, yet dark black coffee isn’t for everyone.
I pray blessings over your week,