This week I’ll be turning my attention to marriage. 56 years ago this coming Saturday, Paul & I will celebrating 56 years of wedded bliss. Well maybe all 56 of those years weren’t like the stuff of which Hallmark movies are made. Maybe the ideal ivory towered fairy tale is just a wish for a perfect marriage. In actuality, marriage consists of more ups and downs than a roller coaster. Many times the downs outweigh the ups, but the ride is always exciting.
We often go into a marriage with no real preparation for what the future will hold. We aren’t told that there will be mistakes, misunderstandings, mishaps, misinterpretations and miscalculations. We believe that joining two lives in marriage might become a bondage of sorts, thinking only of the negative side of that word. We fail to realize that when we make a life commitment to someone other than ourselves, we’re letting go and making sacrifices, but the result is a freedom you can never achieve alone.
Marriage may be conceived as the perfect ending of the love story. The fairy tale happily ever after comes to mind. No one tells you that you will be sharing your life with a stranger. Little things like how they put toothpaste on their toothbrush – leaving the toilet seat up -habits you didn’t know about before you made that promise to love, honor and serve. Than there are the bigger things – the loss of a lifetime of work, the illnesses that plague us, financial worries, unfaithfulness, keeping secrets – all which lead to further difficulties.
56 years ago people didn’t wait forever to get married. They often did it with little planning. Some went to extremes and had huge, expensive events, while others chose to elope and save the money. In that time, the vows taken at the altar meant something. The joining of a man and woman was one of the first gifts God gave to mankind. It’s considered one of the most important sacraments within the church – a thing of mysterious and sacred significance; a religious symbol.
When we give ourselves in marriage, we aren’t losing, but gaining something in return. We become one body – even though we still have our own opinions, hopes and dreams. We shouldn’t consider this institution as a ball and chain, but a freedom to be part of a joint venture – an adventure, filled with highs and lows, but always abounding in love.