Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.
We have wedding fever around our house. Our oldest son was married in December of 2013 and our daughter was married in August 2014. For those of you not reading between the lines that is two weddings in less than a year.
These weddings were as opposite as they could be, one in winter, one in summer, one at home, one on the beach. Although different, both were beautiful, elegant and perfect. Each bride got to show her personality and they each got to have their dream wedding.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter how much money is spent, how many guests arrive, where it is, what the dress looks like, well actually the dress does matter, or if the quests were served Glugg or Tequila. I feel like that last statement deserves an explanation. My daughter-in-law is Swedish so she served Glugg at her wedding. My daughter was married in Mexico and the tradition is that the bride and groom must take a shot of tequila before they’re official. It was obvious that my little girl had never had a shot of Tequila before. Yay! The only thing that matters is that two people love each other and are making a covenant to be faithful, to love, honor and obey in sickness and in health and to serve one another unto death separates them.
It’s not just my household that has wedding fever, this is wedding season. My kids are all in their early twenties meaning all of their friends are in their twenties, this is the age for people to find each other and tie the knot. In the eight months between my children’s weddings there were four other weddings with one more coming just around the corner. It is emotional and exciting watching young people dedicate their lives to each other.
Our parental roles are constantly changing but the one constant is worry. Try as we might we never stop worrying about our kids. It certainly doesn’t help but I like to think that at the very least it burns calories. Once a child gets married you don’t stop worrying about them you just gain one more person to worry about, but knowing that they have someone in their lives that loves them, prays for them, stands beside them and also worries about them makes it a little easier to sleep at night. As our roles change and they grow up and cling to another person they take our advice with a grain of salt. They hear and they listen but it’s just hard for them to apply it because of the stage of life that they are in. It is hard to believe that every marriage will face challenges when you are still looking at life through rose colored glasses. I understand, I wore those glasses at one time too.
I wrote the following article a couple of years ago, during what I call our divorce season. We (my husband and I) weren’t divorcing but people around us were divorcing. Every couple of weeks there were reports of another couple that had called it quits. The contrast is blaring, twenty something’s pledge their love and start their lives together, forty something’s disintegrate their love and end their lives together. Where there once was so much promise, so much love, so much hope, there is only pain and remorse for what should have been.
The reality is that there are two alternatives to divorce: make your relationship so good that divorce isn’t a consideration: respect each other, talk, listen, gain understanding, give gifts, work hard and serve each other, just like you did during those first years, or, live in a miserable existence where you are stuck in a pit, sinking deeper and deeper into unhappiness and self-destruction.
Live Like You’ve Got Something To Lose
When I was young and newly married I would ask people what their secret to a long and happy marriage was? Every time I heard the same response, “We simply don’t believe in divorce so we have no choice.” This may have explained the long part but not necessarily the happy part. They made it sound less like blissful happiness and more like being stuck in a pit.
This year my husband and I celebrated 28 years of marriage, now people ask us this same question, our response, “We believe in divorce.”
I don’t mean we believe in divorce in the self-ish, if I’m not happy, I’m out of here, kind of way. I mean it in the self-less, I better live my life like I’ve got something to lose, kind of way. The belief that divorce is a real possibility is not centered on the me-ism mentality of the world today, the, what have you done for me lately, attitude. This is the self-sacrificing act of being the spouse that you would want to be married to. It is living out the golden rule within your marriage, serving one another, sacrificing for one another and treating each other the way you would want to be treated. It is not thinking I could leave if I am unhappy; it is the belief that he could leave if he ever felt unloved.
Imagine this same question in a different context. How do you stay in a long and successful career? Is it because your boss does not believe in firing people? Probably not. Is it that you have dedicated yourself to your career and you have worked hard every single day, sacrificing much in order to secure your success? Probably so. So why do our marriages always have the lackadaisical attitude of complacency, or worse the feeling of being stuck?
Unfortunately, a lot of folks live today like they’ve got nothing to lose. They lie, cheat, disrespect one another and take each other for granted. Couples will belittle each other in public and talk bad behind each other’s backs. Some couples may give a resemblance of the perfect marriage in public but unleash their dark sides as soon as they are in private.
Remember when you were dating and all you wanted to do was ditch your friends to be with your love? Remember how the two of you would make up stories in order to excuse yourselves from obligations in order to be together? Remember how you treated her? Saying the right things, holding on to every one of her words. Respecting her, defending her, loving her above all else. Remember how you treated him? What about now? Do you do things now that you would have never done when you were dating? You would have never done them out of fear of losing her/him, yet these things have practically become a lifestyle now.
Couples are at their best while they are dating. Why? Because they’ve found something they do not want to lose. So they did things (little things mostly) to make sure that they secured the relationship. After years of marriage those little things can get lost in the shuffle and they begin to live more like they haven’t got a thing to lose, instead of living like they have everything to lose.
Do you think that your spouse would agree to marry you today based only on how you treat them right now? If you had no history, no children, no mortgage do you think they would say yes to you based on nothing else except how you’ve made them feel over the last few months, or the last two weeks, or just this morning?
Imagine living everyday like you’re still dating. Imagine dedicating yourself to your marriage the way you dedicate yourself to your career. What if instead of thinking I’m stuck with him and he’s stuck with me, we adopted the mentality of, he has a choice and I want him to continue to choose me.
We believe in divorce not because either of us is looking for an easy out, but because we believe in working hard to always make each other feel loved enough to want to stay.
Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make
her sorry to see him leave.