From Lewis today I have this profound insight into marriage. (Well, actually, I just had to post it because it is so funny.)
Aravis also had many quarrels (and, I’m afraid even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again: so that years later, when they were grown up they were so used to quarrelling and making it up again that they got married so as to go on doing it more conveniently.
The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis
Of course the reason this is funny is because there is some truth in it. I am always a little skeptical whenever anyone tells me, “Oh, my wife/husband and I never fight or argue.” After all, marriage is the joining together of a distinct and unique man and woman who are also fallen and sinful. As a result, our pride will from time to time (or most of the time) get in the way – those are the times when we forget that marriage is about giving ourselves to our spouse and not about what we can get out of it. Too often we forget this and when we do then quarrelling will result.
Our modern society doesn’t really understand that about marriage and that is why (at least it is part of the reason) that so many marriages end in divorce.* Just because there are disagreements in a marriage doesn’t mean that you picked the wrong person and need to move on and find someone else. I think it is quite the opposite. If we would use those times of disagreement in order to look at ourselves and see what we need to fix within ourselves, instead of expecting our spouse to be the one to give in, then we would be living our marriages as we should and would also be much happier for it.
At this point someone may be making a thousand excuses in his mind of why he is not the one that has to change. When this happens we need to remember that part of being a Christian is learning to die to ourselves. And this dying to self also applies to marriage. Every time you go to your spouse after an argument and sincerely say, “I’m sorry”, and then amend your life (or at least try) then you are in fact dying to self. And it is that dying to self that will lead to happiness – in this life and in the next.
*(Marriages don’t actually end just because a judge has granted a civil divorce. If it is a valid marriage it only ends at the death of one of the spouses. Another point of clarification needs to be made – an annulment also does not end a marriage; instead, it is a declaration by the Church that the marriage was never vaild to begin with.)