Suffering

“In sickness and in health.”

I have made a decision to stop looking for “Mr. Right” and instead focus my efforts and energy on becoming “Mrs. Right.”

There are so many things to consider when choosing a mate and I have recently learned a few of the things that I hope I can be to someone someday. I want to be an uplifter, a life-giver, a deep well when the hard times make life seem dry or bitter.

rings

One thing I know for certain: I want to learn to be a support.

I have met some incredibly strong couples lately. A couple who weathered the storm of losing their firstborn son to cancer at 4 years old. The old man who sat with his wife every single day while she was in a coma until she finally passed on. A man who married a girl and discovered a year later that she had a debilitating disease and would never be able to work and pull “her share” in their relationship again. Another man who continued to love his girlfriend through bipolar disorder and mental health issues.

And, who hasn’t seen The Notebook and longed for a love like that?

the-notebook

Obviously, suffering is a part of life. And it is a part that I think people fail to think about when it comes to relationships and choosing a mate.

My “list” has always contained more superficial aspects of a relationship, things like how the other person might look in the morning or what bad habits they might have.

I have taken into account the fact that I have children and I want a good role model. I also have to consider the fact that I can never bear another child.

I think it is important to examine a potential mate’s family relationships as well.

But I want to be the woman that they can ask — can I suffer with this person?

And I want the answer to be a resounding YES. I think this question can reveal so much about a person, and it should definitely be explored by every dating couple.

Suffering is a part of life and although sorrow comes in many forms, it is a guarantee in life.

And the older a person gets, the more we realize that suffering is not a rare occurrence, but is a common aspect of our lives. Christ does not promise we will avoid suffering when we come to him. 1 Peter 5:10 says that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” And if marriage is to be modeled after Christ and the church, that means we are called to restore, confirm. strengthen and establish our mate.

My confession: This is where I have failed in my past relationships.

Obviously not everyone suffers well. But I am determined to change past behavior and become the Ezer Kenegdo (life bringer) that God has called me to be.

I have done many things to “deal” with hard times. I have lived in denial — unable to confront the deep realities of life. I have chosen to live in despair at times — unable to recognize the convergence of laughter and tears.

I think the reason divorce is so rampant in our society is because so few people have the grace to suffer well.

I have been pondering some of the more difficult questions, questions like:

  • Can I be there and hold someone’s hand when the test says “cancer?”
  • Will I wrap my arms around them and be there when the doctor says, “We’ve done all we can?”
  • Would my spouse know that I am with them 100% when we don’t know where our child is or if they will ever come home?
  • When our world turns upside down, will it be me they seek for comfort and strength?.

I want my man to be able to answer that with a resounding “yes.” I am all too aware of the numerous times that this has been my downfall. And I haven’t even attempted to deal with the huge challenges yet.

I know that for me, a handsome smile has won over quiet determination at times. A common interest has been more appealing than internal fortitude.

But one of the biggest lessons we can learn is that when life falls apart, everyone wants someone you can run to, not someone you want to run from. I want to be that person for someone.

We all want someone who believes in us. I want to do that for someone.

Everyone want someone who instills faith, not causes doubt. I intend to be that strong someday.

Someone who hopes no matter the circumstances is a rare find. I am focused on making it a core characteristic.

In the Bible, Job’s wife responded to his suffering by saying, “Curse God and die.”

Had he not suffered enough?

 Was life not difficult enough?

Enduring hardship was enough, yet Job was also forced to rebuke his wife during his time of struggle.

Life is hard enough; there is no need to make it harder.

I want to learn how to suffer well, because I want to make my love’s life easier, not harder.

When I don’t suffer well, it makes every grief stronger, it makes every sorrow more painful, it makes every hurt deeper.

Learning to suffer, learning to face the tough times with peace and joy and resilience, not living in denial, but confronting the sorrows of life with courage, knowing how to laugh and cry at the same time, offering support and hope in all of life’s challenges, seeing the big picture of life…

Learning these characteristics and making them part of who I am guarantees that every grief will be wedded to hope, every sorrow matched with love, every hurt paired with healing, and that is where the truth and strength of a relationship can shine.

One of the great guarantees of life is that every person, every couple, will suffer. When choosing a mate, BE and CHOOSE someone who suffers well, so you never have cause to be sorry.

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About Shannon Joy

I am a single mother of two incredible munchkins. I pray a lot, work a lot, learn a lot, volunteer a lot and tend to do a lot... I love my life. The past few years have been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs. Thankfully, I have made the choice to see challenges as opportunities and it makes me so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I love to write and paint and feel that being creative is my God-given talent. I am so excited to share my life and experiences with you. Although I am a diamond in the rough, I known that I am being chiseled and hewn by God's grace and my own perseverance. I love comments and feedback, so please send a little love when you can. I will always try to respond personally and in a timely fashion.
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