He called this morning to say hello and I told him I was writing. He said, “What about?” I told him I was writing about commitment. He asked who was being committed. I laughed and said we both were because we’re crazy to believe a marriage could work!
We both hung in there when relationships were bad. And there was a point where both of us came to the conclusion that there was nothing left to salvage and walked away. I walked away from my marriage after my husband did. I personally would never end a marriage just because I was no longer happy. I think it gets sticky when you use words like “happy” to define your state in marriage.
Marriage is tough. It’s easier to be single. When you’re single you get things done your way all the time. No one snores in your bed. No one makes you adjust your schedule.
If my goal in life was to be “happy” I would probably not even consider marriage. But some people think of what they will “GET” if they get married. And the thought of those “things” make them happy. And then they realize…purses, shoes, boats, diamonds, vacations, parties, fancy houses do not bring in and of themselves happiness. You have to actually LIKE the person you are sharing your life with too. And more importantly you have to respect them.
So why am I considering marriage?
Is it because we are infatuated with each other? Surely that is a better reason. We are ridiculously in love… We kiss and hug and stare into each other’s eyes all the time. But that is not why.
Is it because he’s my best friend? He certainly is, but not everyone has to marry their best friends and I’ve had really good friends I would definitely not want to share a bathroom, or bedroom, or even every evening with.
I like him and I love him. This is absolutely true. I’m completely surprised when I realize both our passion and friendship are so very good – especially to have found this at our age is awesome. And I do think they are the key to having a “happy” marriage. See there I said it. That word is so hard to avoid.
But still, I would not consider marriage for those reasons alone. Because marriage is more than a good relationship. Marriage is more.
Marriage is a commitment to be a partner for life. That’s huge.
What in the world would compel someone to believe that were even possible?
I’ve seen good marriages without passion. I’ve seen bad marriages without friendship. And somehow they work because marriage is more than a good relationship. Marriage is about commitment.
For me there is only one reason to consider marriage. And it’s not because I’m afraid to be alone, or I need help financially. I’m secure on both fronts. I’m also not marrying him because he fulfills my every need. No one on this planet could ever do that. If I’m going to enter into an agreement with another human being to be partners for life…I need something more.
It is simply this:
Harry and I are stronger, wiser, kinder, more loving, bolder, more compassionate, more healthy, and more spiritual together as a team than apart. We are better together. Together as one we will give each other the balance we’ve always needed that will extend our purpose in life. The effect of this is happiness I do concede, but it’s not the purpose for marriage…it should be the effect of all these things working together.
Other than doing right by my children at this point…I only know this. Our purpose is to leave this earth with some kind of legacy and if we are together it will be a stronger testimony to all the things God holds dear.
The challenges we give to each other are not done in selfishness. And when one of us does behave badly we are quick to apologize and quick to forgive. This relationship, more than any I’ve ever been in, has a sense of great respect between us which makes THIS something I’m CRAZY enough to believe will be something that can last forever.
There will be days when we aren’t happy. But there will not be day after day of disrespect. Ever. It’s disrespect that creeps in when you’re not looking and destroys marriages.
And then Harry brought up a question that I had been unable to answer satisfactorily for him until now. He said that he was worried that simply because of my faith, that the commitment I was showing him would be done out of a sense of duty. Your my husband, so I have to do this or this or that. I have to follow this rule in my guidebook of life called the Bible so my hands are completely tied.
I explained to him that even God doesn’t want to force people to love him out of a sense of duty. That’s why he gave us free will. But when you love God you want to honor Him. And I told Harry that I love YOU and I want to honor you too. Marriage is a picture of Jesus’ love for His people and he laid down His life for us. In turn we are living to honor Him.
I said think of it this way. If we are in battle and we are comrades fighting on the same team and trying to win and you get hurt, what kind of soldier would I be if I slinked away and left you to die on the field? A horrible one. It’s shameful to do that. But even if I die along side you, the honorable thing to do is try with all my might to drag your butt to safety. And in marriage if one of us goes the wrong way and we just let it go without a fight that is shameful too. But I wouldn’t be trying to save the marriage out of a sense of duty. But a sense of honor to my commitment to you and there is a difference in that.
I’m not committing to stay out a sense of duty. I’m committing to honor you. And in honoring you I will never leave you.
My marriage ended and I held my head high knowing I had done everything I could possibly think of to save it. Not out of a sense of duty but honoring my commitment. When it was clear I was the only one doing that….I knew it was over.
My ex on the other hand often did the right thing for the wrong reason. He often did the “perfect thing” out of a sense of duty as if he were compelled to do it…but his heart was not in the right place. And eventually that left him with no good reason to keep doing the right thing. He then chose to do the wrong thing for the wrong reason. I pleaded with him to do the right thing for the RIGHT reason. Because of our love, because we wanted to honor each other, our children and respect each other.
But he chose to leave instead.
Love in marriage is bigger than the desire to have your needs met and to be “happy”. There is much more required of you.
And I for one know that when I make that vow to be committed I will be doing it with a man who is crazy enough to commit himself to the same thing.
And there in lies the key to a certain kind of happiness. I know…
I want to be happy, I’m not stupid.
I just want the right kind of happiness…the kind that is deep and rich and is not based on circumstances but is based on everything being in balance and right-side up, even in hard times. It’s called joy in the Bible. And it can invade a relationship, flourish in marriage and be everlasting when there is a true commitment to honor the person you marry.