By Michelle Dowell
Long before the wedding bells ring, some engaged couples are being told to expect suffering and hard times. Priests, pastors, or other church staff sometimes warn that marriage isn't easy--in fact it's difficult, they say. Sometimes they remind the couple over and over again to not expect too much.
For these counseled couples, a delightful surprise comes when they're married and sense that it's a sense of joy, not suffering, that their marriage brings to their lives.
Some might argue that it won't always be that way, that over the years people change or love changes and the marriage will therefore cause suffering, but that's more likely rare for true Christian couples who have a Christ-like love for one another. A spouse may get sick, but even then, there's beauty in truly loving a spouse and being loved.
The Bible says that marriage is a blessing. That's why there is hope and joy for marriage. As much as a church may want to warn couples that marriage can be full of suffering, the wedding ceremony often is recognized as a celebration, a cause of joy.