We all have different ideals, different needs, different dreams about what marriage is. Sometimes I wonder if those dreams of ours are founded on what we hope to ‘get out of it’. What will marriage ‘do for me? or ‘give me’?
Googling “what is marriage” turns up a number of definitions like this one: the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.
Then others go on to say “it’s the process by which two people make their relationship public, official, and permanent. It is the joining of two people in a bond that punitively lasts until death, but in practice is increasingly cut short by divorce…” Ugh!
These kinds of statements, although true, don’t come close to describing reality. I know growing up I wanted a marriage that was all a little girl dreams of. As I grew up and understood more of life I knew those childhood dreams would need to give way to reality, but until it’s experienced, that reality is unknown. Ten years in, this is my perspective.
Marriage is choosing to love another person. Not just loving what they do for us, but loving them for ‘who they are’. It’s valuing our differences instead of fighting for sameness.
Marriage is making them a hot drink… and using the opportunity to sneak the last biscuit… delivering their hot drink and enjoying a laugh with them at your chipmunk cheeks. It’s laughing together hysterically over a dumb inside joke.
Marriage is getting up in the morning when you hear the kids are up and ushering them downstairs quietly so your person can get a bit more sleep. It's caring what happened in his/her day and taking the time to ask about it instead of downloading only about my day.
Marriage is knowing that no matter what difficulties you face, you are part a team and are firmly placed in each others corners. It’s taking pleasure in silence shared together, and being comforted by their big hugs.
Marriage is cheering over each others successes and crying together over our failures. Marriage is sharing together with the one person who gets it: pride in your offspring and exasperation at times!
Marriage is togetherness.
Does this mean that a ‘good marriage’ is easy, dreamy and fulfilling all the time? I don’t believe so. There is effort and intentionality involved. After all, we are two separate people doing life together. I believe though that no matter the challenges, in a good marriage there is KINDNESS "the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate".
Kindness means caring about what they are interested in, offering affection – for their sake, sharing burdens, and here’s the simplest thing that we tend to forget: Smiling at each other. Of course we’re in love with each other and can’t live without each other, right? But that reality is sweetened even more with kindness and smiles...