As we discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to finally recognize same-sex marriage across the nation during our company’s monthly breakfast, I heard someone joke, “Let them deal with the mounds of divorce papers now, too,” and the first thought to cross my mind in reaction to that statement was, am I the only person who still believes in marriage these days? Am I the only one who still believes in the sanctity of marriage, and a commitment you make for life and eternity?
Last weekend I was having a conversation about a couple that was recently married this year. While we all wish the couple a lifetime of happiness together, and may they never have to deal with the mounds of paperwork that comes with divorce, we have some serious concerns. First of all the bride has already isolated her husband’s family, who happen to be a very close knit family, through a number of disrespectful acts. On top of that, the bride’s parents have made serious efforts to secure their daughter’s financial well-being should the marriage fall apart. The latter truly befuddles me, not because of the parents’ intentions to make sure their daughter is taken care of, but how they have gone about it, which I cannot disclose here. What the parents’ have shown is how little faith they have in this marriage and in their daughter to be quite frank.
In any case, I just do not understand why some people get married when they’re planning for divorce while they’re planning out their wedding. I think many would consider my notions about marriage old-fashioned, out dated, and naïve. However, I’d turn around and ask those people, “Where is your courage?” “Where is your faith?”
Of course, for me to speak about marriage, people might ask, “Well, how would you know? You’re not married?” Yet, I’ve spent 27 years observing my parents’ marriage, living their marriage, and learning from their marriage. I’ve listened to the stories my grandmother has told me about her own marriage, and I’ve listened to and observed many different couples who are great examples of what marriage is and should be. No one marriage is the same, but they all have at least a couple things in common. Two that stand out to me are true companionship, and a whole lot of courage.
Companionship isn’t just someone to hang out with. Companionship is of course enjoying another’s company, exploring new things together, and having a laugh—many laughs. Companionship is also knowing you have a teammate who is going to bat for you, who is going to encourage you to be your best self, who is going to hold you up when your knees are weak. Companionship is someone who isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings, but doesn’t hurt your feelings, because your feelings aren’t hurt when there’s authenticity, honesty, and trust. Companionship is not quitting when things get tough. When you have all that in one person, you have a true companion. The love I experience with my man is different than the love I experience with my best friend—but what they have in common are these qualities of companionship that are invaluable and irreplaceable.
Courage. It takes a whole lot of courage to commit yourself to one person for now and eternity, because you have to put all your trust in this person and putting your trust in another’s hands is scary. You have no idea what struggles you may encounter, or how you’ll face those struggles. What happens if you dream of having three kids, only to find yourself struggling with miscarriages and/or the inability to carry a child? How do you handle that together? What if you have kids, but not enough time for yourselves? What if one of you becomes terribly ill? Lose your job? What if you start arguing a lot and you become tired of that? It takes a lot of courage to trust that your partner—your companion—will work with you through the struggles? It takes a lot of courage to trust someone will value your happiness as much as his own, and know what it is that makes you happy. It takes a lot of courage to love.
I’m not saying divorce is entirely wrong. In some cases, I’d say it’s very right and necessary. It just saddens me that people speak of divorce like marriage it’s nothing but paperwork. It’s like going to the dentist for a regular teeth cleaning—dreadful, but just a part of your bi-annual routine.
It’s funny. Little girls dream of their wedding day, but do they dream about what happens after the wedding? If it’s weddings you want, because you want an excuse to throw an extravagant party, then throw extravagant parties without the hoopla of paperwork.
I hope that we don’t all eventually lose the regard for marriage as something sacred, because marriage is sacred. It’s a bond that bears a lot of responsibility, but also endless rewards.
Perhaps no we'll just have more good examples of marriage!
BIG LOVE & HUGS