It’s been exactly 10 years and four kids since my husband and I entered the bond of holy matrimony overlooking a beautiful valley in East Tennessee. The sun was shining; the trees bursting with color. We were giddy in love. Atop our mountain.

But it’s a shame we couldn’t stay up there.

It was no sooner than the journey home that the road got bumpy, and we started the descent. As “my” way and “his” way began butting heads, we realized there was so much more to marriage than looking our best with our heads in the clouds.

It would be giving and taking.

Marked by highs and lows.

It would require more strength than we possessed in our own 20-something bodies to not only pull ourselves up but to reach out and pull each other up, also.

We quickly learned marriage would be more than all the promises we had written out and repeated.

So much more.

Obviously, as young newlyweds, we thought we knew the best approach:

You do your half. I’ll do mine.

You scrub the dishes. I’ll fold the laundry.

You take the yard work. I’ll dust and vacuum the house.

And for a little while, that strategy works out all right.

It works out all right until . . . until someone gets sick or someone gets home late, or someone gets pregnant, and that 50/50 plan flies right out the dirty window.

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And the Mrs. starts comparing.

And the Mr. starts complaining.

And we all fall down.

Studying Scripture, we realize that’s not the plan God intended for us when He said a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.

Rather, God designed a sacred marriage, a sacrificial servanthood to reflect His adoration for us: His church, His body.

And marriage offers us this gift. It offers us the ability to know more of God’s love and grace by sharing His love and grace with one another.

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So, instead of monitoring whether he picks up his grimy socks off the floor, I can take a second and toss them into the wash.

And instead of waiting on me to sweep the crumbs, he can grab the broom and get to work.

Instead of disagreeing in front of the kids, we can hear each other out in private.

And instead of waiting until exhaustion makes us crazy, we can relieve each other to take a break.

In this sweet spot of praying for God to show us how to help and listening and doing, we begin understanding that adding a little more to our side of the scale starts lifting the other side up, and we like how it feels to lift each other up.

A day at a time. A decision at a timeto commit to showing each other what loving and cherishing each other really means. And in living out this kind of servant love, we climb a little higher and higher. And that beautiful view from our wedding day on our mountaintop starts coming into focus.

The world will see it, too.

Marriage takes work. Thankfully, there’s an app that can help! Lasting—the nation’s #1 relationship counseling app—provides accessible sessions designed to help you build a healthy marriage. Download and take Lasting’s free Relationship Health Assessment.

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Jaclyn Warren

Stay-at-home mommy of four on mission to encourage parents to savor the meaningful in the midst of the messy. Take your 15 minutes; it’s your turn for timeout. You can find her at www.mommys15minutes.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Mommys15Minutes-543229312706302/.