Today, I decided that it would be a special thing to get our bookwork done quickly, and do some fun things in the afternoon.
I decided that making cookies, and icing them, as well as making some button heart cards, would be perfect.
It's Valentine's day. That day which has become one of commercialisation and women with high expectations of husbands. We don't "do" Valentine's Day, but it's always good to make love an important thing. It should, of course, be important EVERY day, but thinking about it particularly was good.
So, we made cookies.
I tell you what, it challenged me on many fronts, but that's another story.
The cookies came out the oven, and they were just not how I envisioned them. I did everything the recipe said, but some had spread, and looked not entirely like a heart. Some were overcooked in my "not quite right" oven. Then, I didn't make enough icing, so I had to tell the children to be more sparing than I would have liked. I did a demo for them, to show them how to do the outline, then the flooding. Mine was not even quite how I wanted it to be. I stood by, desperately wanting to decorate them myself, to make them look "nicer", but realised that I can't do everything all the time, and my way is not always best! Then, of course, I can't even eat the cookies. Doing Whole30, I am not allowed any sugar. The amount of times I went to lick my sugary finger, and had to stop myself!!
(a shield, a cross on a hill, a tiger?? and 3 hearts!)
However, they enjoyed the experience, and as much as there was nothing perfect about them, they appreciated them, ate them and loved them! Seeing their pleasure was enough for me!
As I was clearing up the whirlwind-type mess resulting from our baking, I got thinking about how making my cookies was like a marriage.
Marriage, and love, is not all about perfection. It's not all about everything looking pretty and perfect. It's not everything turning out how you expected, or about there never being any "messy" moments.
What it IS, is thinking about others before yourself. About giving of time, effort and emotions for the benefit of another. It is about putting in the right "ingredients", mixing them up the way you know you should, and when the results are not how you expected, still carrying on. Still putting in the effort to make it the way it should be. Persevering despite the imperfections. Persevering BECAUSE of the imperfections. Still pouring in love and effort, when things don't look so "pretty". It's about being unselfish. Doing things purely for the benefit of another, not for your own. It's about not giving up when things don't go well. It's about being willing to set aside doing things "your way", and having the humility to accept that your husband's way is right, because you want to please him, more than you want to get your own way. It's about accepting failings and loving what you have regardless, because it's worth it. It's about finishing well.
Today, and every day, I need to have a marriage like that. I need to love selflessly. I need to persevere through the moments that don't go quite how I expected. I need to keep adding "beauty" to our marriage, by loving as God wants me to. I need to give, and give, and give, not for my own gain or benefit. I need to keep on, until "death do us part". I need to enjoy the pleasures of simply being in the marriage, not being bogged down by the negatives. Promoting the positives.
I love my husband. We don't have everything going perfectly all the time, but we DO love each other. Deeply. We are thankful for every blessing upon our marriage and our family. We will keep, by God's grace alone, working at it every day.