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Jennifer Thompson, writer, with her husband

I will never forget something our pastor said to us when we were going through premarital counseling many years ago.

“A marriage isn’t two people each giving 50%,” he said. “It’s two people each giving 100%.”

This hit me. Hard.

I had always thought of relationships as 50/50 propositions. You each give. And you each take. You try to make it as equal as possible. Right?

Wrong.

It is give. And it is take. That is correct.

But it isn’t giving half of yourself.

It’s giving all of yourself. It’s two people giving everything they can to each other. It’s two people trying their best to love each other well, each and every day.

Will it be perfect?

No way.

Marriage is two imperfect people coming together. There is absolutely no such thing as a perfect marriage.

Does the give and take always look equal? No.

There are some seasons when it is more give. And more take. I may need more from my spouse right now than he does from me. And vice a versa.

But it all balances out. It’s a beautiful dance.

You may hear this 100% giving of yourself and think, that sounds nice in theory, but do you know how exhausted I am? After caring for the kids. And my house. And my job. And all of the things. I am lucky to give 5%.

It may feel that way.

But giving 100% doesn’t mean you are giving perfection. It simply means you are trying your best. Just like we tell our kids when they get a lower grade than they wanted on a test. Did you try your best? Did you give it your all? That’s all we ever ask.

Marriage is two imperfect people loving each other. Supporting each other. Listening to each other. Accepting each other. Giving each other grace. Lots. And lots. And lots of grace.

It’s picking up the slack when the other person needs it most. It’s letting go of past mistakes. And not holding grudges.

It’s living in the moment. And addressing concerns as they arise.

It’s owning your mistakes. And saying I’m sorry.

And forgiving. Just as you long to be forgiven.What I give every day isn’t based on what my husband is giving to me. And that is the most beautiful part of the dance. I give 100% because of the love I have for him. And he gives 100% because of the love he has for me.

And back and forth and back and forth it goes.

If in the dark we lose sight of love, hold my hand, and have no fear cause I will be here.”-Steven Curtis Chapman

When we stood at the altar over 27 years ago and my friend Marcy sang those haunting words, I had no idea in my 25-year-old head how true they would ring this many years later.  I didn’t know we were embarking on a journey of Three Marriages (and that’s so far…who knows how many more we have in us).Read more of Esther’s story that inspired our interview: The Tale of Our Three Marriages

All About Esther—

Esther is a wife to one and a mom to four grown children (ages 20-28).  She was born a missionary kid in war-torn Ethiopia, but has become a potato chip-eating, football-loving American, Christian wife and mom who has a fierce passion for marriage and family. She’s a little snarky, a little sappy, a little strong and hopefully more than a little Spirit-led.  She’s been driven to her knees in prayer and to raise her hands in praise.  She’s speaks words of hope and wisdom where the heart meets the home and faith touches the family. You can read more of Esther’s beautiful writings at the following: The Dolly Mama Blog, Instagram: Moms of Bigs, Instagram: The Dolly Mama, Facebook: Moms of Bigs, Facebook: The Dolly Mama

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