Monday, June 2, 2008

Why My Marriage Is Unbelievably Happy

There was a season in my life when it seemed that everyone around me was getting married. It was about 2 years before Hubby and I actually tied the knot, but at that point we had been together going on 3 years and Monkeypants was already a little over a year old and I have to admit-I was jealous. I was practically ill with envy. I wanted to get married. I wanted to have the beautiful dress and the sparkling ring and the exotic honeymoon. I will admit that my delusions and jealousy even had me buying Bride magazine and "casually" showing them to Hubby hoping that he would get the "hint" (which was more of an attack, in retrospect). I was convinced that ifIdidnotgetmarriedrightnowIwould die.

My husband, in one of his wisest moments, refused to marry me. (At the time.) He told me that since marriage is such a serious thing that you shouldn't get married if you still care about the dress/cake/ring/honeymoon. That still being focused on those things proves that you are missing the point of what marriage is.

I thought he was a big fat jerk head.

Still, I held on and in March of 07-after almost 4 and a half years together-we finally did it. And you know what? I didn't care about the dress. Or the ring. Or the cake. We got married in the park in our street clothes with only our closest family there. Afterwards we went to TGIFs on our parents' dime (woo hoo!) and then went home and passed out. No honeymoon, exotic or otherwise.

I could not be happier or less disappointed with how we got married because our wedding was not about stress and seating charts, caterers and bands, rings and dresses-it was about the very serious business of vowing before God to take each other as man and wife forever; to live together, work together, and love together until God takes one of us (or both of us at the exact same time as I hope to myself).

Don't get me wrong we love doing cool stuff, especially just us. We're talking about taking a trip together without the kids sometime when they are a little older and grandmas and grandpas won't be so overwhelmed by them. We just saw that as an unneeded and in fact detracting add on to our wedding.

I think about this now because recently it seems that this is the season in my life when all of those same people I was once jealous of are watching their marriages crumble. They are starting to refer to their marriages as their "starter marriage" and dividing up their things. Of course this makes me very sad for them, knowing that something they were so happy about only three or four years ago has been reduced to a he-said-she-said over who gets the chair they both hate for the low low price of $350 an hour.

It also makes me wonder (gratefully) why my own marriage is so amazing and happy. I think having the wisdom (on my husband's part!) to wait until our vows were serious business plays a large part in the strength of our marriage-but I think that there is even more.

Whether you are Christian or not (though I personally happen to be) there is a verse in the Bible which outlines the behaviors of love, and I believe they apply to all successful marriages.

Corinthians 13:4 says:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
To me this means:

Wait patiently for your spouse to reach the same understanding and maturity level that you are at as people do not always mature at the same time even in a marriage. Some day they will understand more than you and will have to patiently wait for you. Do not point out your spouse's flaws. They may be big and they may be hairy, but never speak harshly of them. Speak and act out of loving kindness. Do not begrudge your spouse for anything they get or anything they are capable of. That doesn't mean don't admire them, but allowing jealousy to seep into your marriage between you is bad news. If you were right, don't rub it in, just let it go. Ask your spouse for help if you need it. Don't pick on them. Think of your spouse first. Don't get upset over the little things. Forgive AND forget. Don't hang on to a mental list of every slight in your relationship. Don't delight in the follies and foibles of your spouse, but instead help them see the error and celebrate when they are able to overcome it. Protect your spouse, believe in them, and never give up on them.

Notice how, even in that verse, it doesn't say or imply that love makes everything perfect-instead, it focuses on what you can do with love to overcome the day to day struggles. My marriage certainly isn't perfect, though I strive every day to show my husband the type of love this verse describes, but I do believe if you love this way that love will never fail. It is hard to imagine how one would end up divorced if we behave like that to our spouses, isn't it?

I wish that I could explain this in detail to my friends that are separating/divorcing at the moment, but sadly they seem otherwise occupied by lawyers, court appearances, and mediation meetings...or just too generally stressed out to really listen. Also for some reason people think that these things do not apply to them. They tried hard enough, you understand, but their spouse did this and this and this.....Well they were patient for a while, but they can't wait forever....Sometimes it's just time to give up.

Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love is patient. Love always perseveres.

I wish I had a powerful ending to all of this, but the best I can really do is close and hope hope that all of you have marriages that are happy and filled with love in it's greatest form.


Suzie said...

It sounds like your marraige is very blessed

Genny said...

How wonderful! What a great story.

Becoming Me said...

Excellent post Candace. Very sweet story.

Wifey said...

You are so wise beyond your years - smiles! And your husband is pretty smart, too! Very well said.