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Allow me to start off with a disclaimer: I mean no disrespect toward my husband in what I’m about to say. After all, it would be counterproductive to post thoughts on a marriage blog dissin’ your spouse so I assure you, I am speaking the truth in love when I say my husband is a Smack Talker. Chad grew up in a family of three boys ...three very competitive boys... so I think he learned early on how to push people’s buttons and no one is safe from his teasing either. (Consider yourself warned!) His latest target audience is my two brothers who own and love Golden Retrievers. The issue - Chad owns and loves his Black Lab.

Chad has a passion for hunting ducks and geese and has always wanted a hunting dog. I, on the other hand, do not share his passion for hunting or dogs so it took many years of convincing til I eventually caved and we got a puppy. Since then Chad has spent countless hours teaching and training Bella and she has not disappointed. Bella will bound through acres of cornfields and swim through deep waters to retrieve her beloved prize only to take it back and lay it at Chad’s feet. To say he is proud is a gross understatement and every picture he takes of Bella doing what Bella does, he captions it #purpose and sends it to my brothers. Chad finds such satisfaction knowing Bella is fulfilling her purpose by retrieving ducks and geese over tennis balls and sticks and he enjoys letting others know it too.

All teasing aside, I can see his point. There is a sense of satisfaction when something fulfills its intended purpose. For example, it’s rewarding to leave a meeting where the agenda is accomplished since the purpose was to get things done. It feels good to lose weight because that was the intended purpose of the diet. A paycheck gives hard work purpose and even the dreaded chore of grocery shopping serves a good purpose. It’s fulfilling to know and see a purpose fulfilled but what about when you don’t know and can’t see the purpose in something...namely unexpected, uninvited and unwelcome struggles in your marriage? It can be tempting to throw your hands up and ask “Why Me?” or to throw in the towel and mutter “Why bother?!”

In twenty six years of marriage, Chad and I have endured many trying circumstances that have caused us to wonder, worry and wait. The amputation of our daughter’s right hand, my battle with depression and other issues have imposed stress and strain on our marriage. However, one thing is sure, our marriage has become stronger and better in spite of them. If we erased the pain they caused, we’d lose the lessons they taught. We marry For Better or For Worse and, like Bella, both circumstances can serve a good #purpose if we let them.

Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God; those who are called according to His purpose.

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