I don’t remember which premarital book it was, and there were a lot my husband and I went through leading up to our engagement and during that beautifully hectic time before the wedding day. There was a lot of language about staying in marriage. And not just, I’m not going to divorce you, but covenant language of commitment.

I got it, I appreciated it, but let’s be honest—dating and engagement are walks in the park compared to marriage. And this reality slapped me upside the head within the first year, very early on. Testing my commitment to stay with my husband and pursue in that staying when the going got tough.

The going got tough with two major job transitions, a global pandemic with an immune-compromised mother to consider, a lot of ministry heartache and hurt and spiritual attack on all sides.

And my formerly super-communicative husband and I would get into these fights where there’d be stretches of silent treatment.

Stretches of me vibrating with anxiety as my fight or flight kicked into high gear from the fear surrounding whatever one of those topics triggered us into arguing.

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I’m ashamed to admit I only ever stayed away, instead of staying with my husband, by curling up on the couch when the tense fight got us past 10 p.m., which was late for us.

See I can physically stay with my husband in whatever hurt or anger or thing we need to fight out until we reconcile. Or at the very least recognize and try to own a tiny portion of what was flung around, apologize, and move toward full reconciliation after a good night’s sleep. After all—don’t let the sun go down on your anger.

See, staying with isn’t the same as staying for. And it’s not about staying for your husband I’ve learned.

Because then where do I come in if it’s all about him? That’s not healthy, and something I’ve had to work onthat making myself less line of thinking. Can you relate?

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It’s not about staying physically in the same room, it’s not about staying for your husband—it’s about staying for your marriage. Staying to rebel against a culture that demands our rights and our preferences and easy. Staying to rebuke the very real enemy we have as Christians that does not want marriages to flourish or even just survive.

Staying is about acting as Jesus did. He stayed, because of His great love for us. Despite all that we have sinned against Him. Yes, every single sinpast, present, and futurewas laid on Him.

And He stayed.

And He was God. But He stayed because it was the only way we could have right relationship with Him.

Marriage is a lot like the gospel. Its oneness is only reflected by and was ordained from the relationship between God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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So staying isn’t a matter of who can tough it out the longest, or how long a silent treatment can stretch before one of you cracksthough it’s tempting, trust me. Staying in a marriage is for your marriage, and for the glory of God to be on display even in moments of pain, weakness, sorrow, sin, and tension. Because that staying and waiting communicates that the marriage is worth it. Because what God has joined together, let no man separate.

Meghan DeWalt

Meghan DeWalt is an author of stories about remembrance and redemption. A full-time writer, she is passionate about theology and discipleship, encouraging others to know and love God wholeheartedly in order to live according to their Gospel calling. Meghan lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Jeff, where they cook, practice hospitality, and adventure together.