I sat on semi-comfortable chairs eating lunch and checking facebook in a school staff room. A few other teachers had already taken their regular seats.
Normally everyone is too busy on social media to talk, but on that day the conversation was alive.
“You’re under the thumb,” Jim heckled. “You want to come out with us, so just come. Who cares what she says.”
Jason mumbled a reply, feeling embarrassed and a little humiliated. I quickly gathered Jim invited Jason to a “boys” event but Jason’s wife had other plans.
“Marriage,” Jim announced, “no one is happy in marriage. I wasn’t happy in mine. That’s why we separated.”
“Come on, you’ll get married again,” someone called out from behind me.
“No never,” Jim insisted. “That’s it for me. Who wants to be unhappy?”
Then he looked around.
“Show me one person who is happily married.”
As a silent by-stander in the conversation I chewed my sandwich and wrestled within. Their conversation intimidated me but I couldn’t let it go. I could not be classified as “unhappily married” by default.
“I’m happy,” I stammered and all eyes turned to me. “I am happily married,” I repeated – boldly this time.
A hush fell over the lunchroom as everyone realised marriage was not completely doomed. That you can be happy and married. And while Jim remained staunch in his stance on marriage there were other faces in the group I noticed. Faces of silent envy. Wishing they were happy. Wishing their love story was different. Wishing they too could proclaim to their peers, “I have a good marriage.”
My life has never been normal. From growing up with a mother who coughed up blood every day, worship leading as a teen in my parents’ Japanese church, to being a Single Christian Female youth pastor, I have always felt a little odd. And alone. Never part of the hip crowd.
When I married I thought I would never feel alone again. I would never feel like I was different from my peers.
But I do.
I still feel odd.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happily married and looove my husband – we are practically inseparable. I feel odd because my marriage and my attitude to marriage is different to many of those around me.
As I picked up my pen to write the next chapter of my life – so to speak – I felt God iterate a similar thought to when I wrote Single Christian Female:
Write your journey of marriage, because there are people who have great marriages, easy marriages, and they think they are odd. They think, “We have to be doing something wrong because everyone else’s is struggling and fighting and divorcing.” But they aren’t. You aren’t. Yours is a normal, Christ-centred marriage.
That is the sentiment of Together: A Journey Of Godly Marriage. That being head over heels for your husband is natural. Valuing marriage is crucial. And wedded bliss is achievable. When you journey together.
I can’t wait to share it with you on Friday 18 November.