Bible Reading Made Easy

Without Romantic Love, I Still Have a Happy Marriage

By Shasha, United States

I had been longing for love.

At the age of 18, I, knowing nothing of love, became infatuated with romantic books, idol dramas and youth dramas, and especially their plots. For example, when the heroine is in peril, the hero happens to show up and rescues her, and since then they two have been in love. The male character is handsome, charming, romantic, and kind to the main female character. In a western-style restaurant, with the beautiful sound of violin, the boy suddenly proposes marriage to the girl; henceforth, they walk down the aisle, help each other in times of need, and love each other for the rest of their days…. Every time I saw these plots and scenes, my heart would be touched and I would imagine that my future partner could be as handsome, charming, and considerate as the main male character in soap operas, that he would propose to me with a diamond ring in his hand, give me a romantic wedding, as well as take me to Paris for our honeymoon and to the beach to watch the sun setting, and that he could care for me forever….

When I reached marrying age, there were many suitors pursuing me, but I refused them all because I was not pleased with their characters, ages, etc. Afterward, at the introduction of a friend, I met my current husband, who was not tall but handsome. Although he didn’t earn much money, he treated me very well. I was very temperamental and often lost my temper at the slightest thing that didn’t please me, but he could always be tolerant toward me. I loved shopping for hours on end, and no matter how far, he would accompany me without any complaint. Once, for my birthday, he gave me an exquisite necklace and said that he hoped he could give me presents for each of my birthday. At that time, I thought as long as he was sympathetic and concerned for me, and was romantic in our lives, we would be happily married. Thus, after getting to know each other for a while, we stayed together. He knew I liked cakes best and so he prepared a big 3-tier cake for me for our wedding. I thought that was very warm and romantic. And he said, “As long as it is your favorite, I’ll buy it for you.” My friends all said to me, “You’ve married the right person. Your husband is really considerate.” Hearing them say this, I felt warm in my heart.

sweetheart

I wasn’t fated to enjoy a romantic life.

Many people say that, passion is a link to tie two people in love together, and when the passion passes, all that remains in a relationship are family emotions. This is indeed the case. My married life was as bland as a cup of plain water. My husband was busy with his work all day long so he had no inclination to pay any attention to me, to say nothing of speaking honeyed words to make me happy. This made me feel very disappointed and ignored. Once, on Valentine’s Day, my husband and I going to the shopping mall and seeing the jewelry store have a sale, I wanted to buy a bracelet. But after walking around, he actually said, “Let’s go. There is nothing to buy.” At that point, I felt distressed and thought, “It’s Valentine’s Day, so how can you not give me presents? Not even roses or chocolates. You are really not romantic. You don’t take me very seriously. I’m still so young. How can I live a life as bland as old couples’?” I didn’t even receive a rose, not to mention enjoying a romantic trip. Even our wedding anniversary was ignored by my husband, so I could do no more than watch with envy my friends showing their honeymoon photos on the internet which were taken in Miami and Disneyland, etc. How I wished my husband could immediately take me to go on a romantic trip. One day, I was very excited, saying to him, “Shall we go somewhere to celebrate our anniversary?” He replied, “I don’t care what anniversary it is. We don’t celebrate it.” These words hit me like a bucket of cold water. I was very upset and thought to myself, “I’m only in my twenties. If we don’t even celebrate our wedding anniversary, then what’s the meaning of life? Will we no longer live together in a few years? How come you seem to have changed into another person? After getting married, you don’t care about me. How could I be so blind? How have I chosen a dork like you from so many suitors?” So, I avoided my husband more and more and felt he shattered my hope of a romantic marriage.

Additionally, when we were newly married, my husband promised that he would give me a present for each birthday, but in the three years since we got married, he never gave me any gifts. When I asked him about this, he answered perfunctorily, “In a few years.” Hearing this, I was very angry and said, “You’ve kept putting it off and off. How much longer is this going to drag on? Do you have me in your heart? Do you actually know about romance? It’s grieving enough being married to you! In these years you haven’t given me any presents!” Unexpectedly, when I was still angry, he went to sleep. I thought of how when the main female character in a soap opera is angry, the main male character always comforts her, while my husband ignored me. I was so angry that I threw stuff and then cried secretly under my quilt. I didn’t speak to him for several days straight.

After that, I often quarreled with him over these things. At first he comforted me, but over time, he felt quite tired and couldn’t be bothered, and in the end all that remained in our relationship were quarrels and cold wars. Whenever I thought of how heroes on TV always treat the heroines very nicely, I would be even more resentful of my husband. Later, upon my requests, he took me to the beach and traveling, but he just went through the motions and wasn’t as romantic as heroes on TV at all. My heart didn’t feel romantic but empty. Sometimes, standing at the side of the road and seeing the flow of people and cars, I thought, “When will there be an end to this life of emptiness?” I always felt that my fate was against me, and I regretted marrying my husband very much and even wanted to divorce him. Every day of my life was tiring and bitter.

Are we humans capable of controlling our own marriage?

It wasn’t until I accepted God’s work of the last days that I slowly walked out of the pain of marriage through God’s words. God’s words say, “One encounters many people in one’s life, but no one knows who will become one’s partner in marriage. Though everyone has their own ideas and personal stances on the subject of marriage, no one can foresee who will finally become their true other half, and one’s own notions count for little. After meeting a person you like, you can pursue that person; but whether he or she is interested in you, whether he or she is able to become your partner, is not yours to decide. The object of your affections is not necessarily the person with whom you will be able to share your life; and meanwhile someone you never expected quietly enters your life and becomes your partner, becomes the most important element in your fate, your other half, to whom your fate is inextricably bound. … Whether marriage itself brings happiness or pain, everyone’s mission in marriage is predestined by the Creator and will not change; everyone must fulfill it. And the individual fate that lies behind every marriage is unchanging; it was determined long in advance by the Creator.

When I read these words, I understood that, every person’s marriage is not in their own hands, and the kind of husband or wife they have is also not up to them, but is orchestrated and arranged by God. Just like many people meet someone they love, but in the end they don’t come together because the other isn’t fond of them or due to other various reasons, and there are also many people who have never thought of marrying someone, but unknowingly they two end up together. Similarly, I was also like this. Once, there was no shortage of rich, handsome, and romantic men among my many suitors, but I refused them all for one reason or another. When meeting my husband, who isn’t tall and didn’t have much money, at first I never thought of marrying him, but in the end we came together. I finally understood that our marriage is predestined by God and that we can’t change it at all. God is the Creator, and therefore God knows what kind of spouse is the most fit for us. The reason why I was living in such pain was because I didn’t recognize God’s sovereignty and always wanted to end the marriage arranged by God.

It turns out that romantic love is Satan’s trap.

I saw more of God’s words, “People harbor many illusions about marriage before they experience it themselves, and all these illusions are beautiful. Women imagine that their other halves will be Prince Charming, and men imagine that they will marry Snow White. These fantasies go to show that every person has certain requirements for marriage, their own set of demands and standards. Though in this evil age people are constantly bombarded with distorted messages about marriage, which create even more additional requirements and give people all sorts of baggage and strange attitudes, any person who has experienced marriage knows that no matter how one understands it, no matter what one’s attitude toward it is, marriage is not a matter of individual choice.” “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly, with a rebellious attitude, and always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed; they are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, is painful; the pain is unforgettable; and all the while one is frittering away one’s life. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously neither is true. At bottom, it is because of the paths people take, the ways people choose to live their lives.

I understood from these words that before I experienced marriage, Satan had been contaminating my heart with impractical ideas of marriage through various romantic novels, idol dramas and youth dramas, so I was full of fantasies about marriage. I thought that a happy marriage must be romantic: My husband must propose to me with a diamond ring and roses; we should often travel together and walk on the beach, and he must spoil me forever; when I was upset, he could comfort me and make me happy; and when I was lonesome, he could be there for me. And so on. But actually, romantic stories in the novels and soap operas are fictional. They simply do not exist in real life, because every person’s preferences, viewpoints on marriage and personality are different, so our other halves cannot possibly satisfy our desires in every aspect. In addition, after marriage, both partners need to take familial responsibilities and are busy with life, so we cannot possibly live a romantic life every day. However, I never thought of whether my pursuit was right, and instead blindly pursued romantic love. When my marriage was totally different from what was shown on TV, I began to blame my husband. Moreover, influenced by romantic love in novels and soap operas, I always compared my husband to main male characters. When seeing that my husband wasn’t up to my ideal standard nor gave me the romantic life I wanted, then I believed that fate was against me and I regretted marrying him. I often complained to and despised him, got angry and quarreled with him, and even wanted to divorce him. I couldn’t feel the slightest happiness. Then I thought of people around me. A friend of mine took how heroes on TV behave to be the standard for her boyfriends, and although she found many boyfriends, she broke up with them because they couldn’t meet her standards, and as a result, when she rode a bumpy road to get to where she was in her thirties, she still didn’t find a boyfriend she wished for. There was also my cousin. Her husband was good to her, but she despised him and complained that he wasn’t romantic nor good at sweet talking, so she began to date online, with the result that she almost divorced her husband, which brought harm to their parents and children. There are so many examples of this in this world. Because of pursuing romantic love, many married people aren’t satisfied with ordinary marriage life and begin to engage in extramarital affairs, and after the affairs are found out, someone might even be killed because of it. In order to pursue romantic love, many young people find one partner after another.… I finally saw clearly the root of the suffering in my marriage: I was influenced by love stories in novels and soap operas and so pursued romantic love.

It turns out that my marriage is very happy.

Afterward, I saw the following passage of God’s words, “After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God.” Then I thought, “Yes. Since I realize that my viewpoints on marriage are wrong, next, I should obey God’s arrangements, no longer pursue impractical romantic love, and should come back to reality, live a realistic married life, and practice according to God’s words in real life. When things crop up, I should learn to be forgiving of and understand him, and live out normal humanity to the glory of God.” When I no longer made demands of my husband according to the main male characters’ behaviors and deeds in soap operas, unwittingly, I saw he had many advantages. Although he didn’t know about so-called romance, he was an honest and family-centered person, and although we were more wealthy than before, he didn’t indulge in debauchery outside and still treated me as well as he did before. One time, during the night, I got sick and then he took me to the hospital, where he was so busy taking care of me that he didn’t sleep and the following day, he even went back to work. In addition, he pro-actively did everything in our house, great and small. And he would ask for my advice and consult me in everything.

Later, I read a passage from Sermons and Fellowship, “No matter what your spouse’s humanity is like, when you are suffering and experiencing difficulties, he is able to be considerate to you, comfort you, and share your sorrow and pain together with you. This proves that he has you in his heart. Although normally your spouse and you fight or quarrel with each other, when you encounter a crucial moment he doesn’t stand by but can help you and share everything with you. This is called love, isn’t it?” From this I understood: Yes. A genuine husband and wife are able to share in life’s joys and sorrows, and respect and forgive each other. When facing tribulations, the couple can be with each other; when living in comfort, they won’t abandon each other. This is what true love is.” I thought of how, although my husband and I led an ordinary life and we normally argued with each other, he took responsibility for our family. When I was in pain, he was by my side. His heart for me was genuine.

Whenever I thought back on the times I was living within the illusion of the plots on TV and yearning for the so-called romantic love, I felt I was simply too absurd and laughable. Now our life is still nothing special and he still doesn’t know about romance, but my heart is calmer than before and I no longer despise him. Thank God. It’s God’s words that changed my wrong viewpoints on marriage and allowed me to see through how Satan used the viewpoint of pursuing romantic love to afflict me. Although I was so unreasonable, my home is still not broken. Thank God for keeping my family together. Only God can make our lives increasingly happy. I am very grateful for God’s salvation for me. All the glory be to God.


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