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Work Hard to Make Marriage Work

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

 

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

 

As an Air Force chaplain I’ve always been amazed at how our recruiters can go into the malls, movie theaters, high schools, and colleges of America and recruit such fantastic young women and men. They’re hard working, patriotic, focused, and passionate about what they do.

 

Whether on the training grounds of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland or U.S. Air Force Academy, the briefing rooms and back shops of home station, or the battle fields of deployment they run toward a challenge. I have no doubt that they “support and defend the Constitution” as well as any generation ever, and it’s an honor to be their chaplain and spiritual leader.

But I have a concern: Although these fantastic young Airmen are superbly trained and fully prepared to defend our freedoms, many of them are not at all prepared for the most important task they’ll ever undertake -- marriage. They “hope” their marriage will endure; they wish for a strong connection and great communication; they dream they will live “happily ever after” with no conflicts, no frustrations, no challenges. But the truth is, an easy “happily ever after” is reserved for made for TV, movies and free books on Kindle, not for real marriages of real people in the real world.

Real marriage takes hard work. It takes two people who are willing to sacrifice some of “me” in the pursuit of a greater “us.” It’s a decision to show appreciation and admiration even when your spouse is irritating. It’s showing love in a way that speaks to your spouse – being helpful, buying a little gift, or just sitting knee to knee and talking. It’s exposing your emotions and humbling yourself with an apology that sets aside your pride. It’s choosing to listen to your spouse’s point of view, even when their logic makes no sense to you. It’s choosing to respect their point of view as equal to yours, and it’s being willing to work together for a solution that benefits you both.

A great marriage is never an accident. A great marriage comes as a result of hard work, unwavering commitment, and a sacrifice of self for the greater good. That’s why wedding ceremonies contain the phrase, “the two have become one.”

If you’re married or engaged, I warmly invite you to attend one of our Marriage Mondays held the first Monday of every month at 1800 at the Columbus AFB chapel. There’s a free meal and free childcare. During the one-hour program, Columbus’ helping agencies work together to share tools, ideas, and concepts you can use to strengthen your marriage. Call the Columbus AFB chapel at 434-2500 or email 14ftw.hc@us.af.mil to make a reservation.