Google “marriage jokes” and these are some of the things you’ll find:

Marriage is not a word. It is a sentence–a life sentence.

Marriage is very much like a violin; after the sweet music is over, the strings are attached.

Marriage is love. Love is blind. Therefore, marriage is an institution for the blind.

Marriage is an institution in which a man loses his Bachelor’s Degree and the woman gets her Masters.

Marriage is a thing which puts a ring on a woman’s finger and two under the man’s eyes.

Marriage certificate is just another word for a work permit.

Marriage is not just a having a wife, but also worries inherited forever.

I really despise marriage jokes. First, I despise them because they are critical, negative, and completely discouraging. But secondly, I despise them because at the core….they reflect the heart of a very broken society, with a very twisted view of marriage. They reflect a world around us that is struggling to see marriage as a blessing, but rather see it as a hindrance.

Turn on the local news and you will hear story after story of broken marriages, destructive relationships, struggling families, and the on again off again romance of Hollywood that confirms our societies apathetic view on holy matrimony.    

I despise marriage jokes because I believe they affirm the very thing the Enemy is trying to do in the world around us- steal, kill, and destroy our God-ordained, God-given, God-created relationships. They make light of a very serious matter and snuff the image of God in the very relationships that were meant to reflect and honor Him.

Marriage is no walk in the park. It is a road full of really hard choices, ridiculous selflessness, and constant service. But it is a journey full of blessing, healing, and hope. It is a hazy glimpse of God’s incredible love found in the eyes of another human being.

My husband and I take this seriously, and try to live out this kind of love each and every single day. Some days are way harder than others, and many times we make mistakes. But more than anything, we have committed to five things to keep our marriage strong…

1. Friendship: It’s easier to be friends than lovers. And those who start as friends, make the best lovers. John and I founded our relationship on a really strong friendship. I see the roots of that friendship sprouting in our marriage every day. Each component to our friendship is like a string - and we have string after string tying us together and holding us close. We share similar interests, hobbies, passions, and beliefs that keep us connected. But we also have many differences - differences that we see as opportunities to learn, experience, and get to know one another even more. We love spending time together, experiencing things with one another, and consider the other as our best friend. We don’t let our marriage cover over our friendship…it only accentuates it.

2. Laughter: When I met John I thought he was the funniest man alive (now I know better!). But the truth of the matter is he keeps me laughing and makes me smile. We have so much fun together, and some of our most intimate memories involve us laughing until there are tears streaming down our faces. There is a time and place in marriage for tears of frustration, anger, and sadness…but there should also be a time for tears of joy. Make that a priority in your marriage.

3. Confession: As hard as it is, John and I are getting really good at saying sorry. But we’ve evolved. We don’t just say sorry anymore - because the word “sorry” doesn’t always hold much meaning. We have learned to confess to one another, to take ownership and responsibility of our sins, flaws, and weaknesses, and to apologize specifically for how we have hurt each other. As humbling as this can be, confession has brought an intimacy between us that is far greater than any prideful “rightness” could ever bring. We’ve learned to confess to one another, and then to forgive one another.