I'd like to think Noelle and I are pretty unique in our relationship, seeing as we are pretty darn similar in so many ways. While "opposites attract" is true for so many people, our similarities attract us to one another while (simultaneously at times) also drive us crazy about each other. But then again everyone wants to think their marriage is unique so who knows. But one thing I do know: I'm a better man because I'm married to Noelle. I really am. Not only does she help me remember all kinds of things - where my keys are, how much money we spent on stuff, why I need her so badly - she actually seems to enjoy my quirkiness and challenges me to grow constantly. if you're married I think you'll understand the next thing I'm about to say, and if not then you'll probably not be sure what to think. There are just some times when I have this urge to retract, to run and hide emotionally, from Noelle. Not because I don't trust that she loves me. If anything it's because I know she loves me so much that I'm tempted to retract and hide. I can be so fickle like that... swaying back and forth between wanting to fully engage and invest in our marriage and other times want to just get by with as much as I need to in order to call it a marriage not a "living arrangement". Being married to me has to be hard for so many reasons, and Noelle makes it look relatively easy and actually enjoyable. I'm sure that's all God's grace to her, because on her own power it just wouldn't work.
Marriage in general is a concept no one else besides God would have invented. Our society has this horribly wrong concept of it being like sitting in a bed of flowers together all day... at least for the first two weeks. Some people have wisened up and said they never want to get married and say that it's a form of slavery. And, honestly, I think they are right if you think about it without God in the equation. If it's a human invention it's just something to keep humanity going and it's a way of forcing people to do things - and in that regard it can become like slavery or some form of torture. Why not just live it up on your own and do what you want? But, if marriage really is the idea of the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is, then marriage is the most important form of human relationships (and the most beneficial). And I believe that's exactly what it is. In marriage two sinners come together and commit their lives to one another (that's the idea at least) - in sickness and death, whether rich or poor, blah blah blah. And God himself is the Author of this great relationship, the One who brings people together who are far more narcissistic than either believes and then he grinds away at so much of our sinful, horrible, deplorable selves. And hopefully we become more like Christ in the process. Being married is both the most beautiful part of my life and the most difficult. It's beautiful because I know God is at work, blessing us, and drawing us closer to one another and to him in the process. It's the most difficult because I am (almost) always in the presence of someone who cares deeply about me - not just in meeting my needs but in my spiritual growth, in my responsibilities as a man, and in my accountability in my job and other things. it's a beautiful, difficult, wonderful blessing to be married to a woman who knows God, walks with him humbly, and seeks to honor him by loving me the best she can.