On the topic of Marriage
Our four year anniversary is coming up, and it has started me thinking on the topic of marriage. We have had a wonderful marriage which has had its share of growing pains, but overall we have been very blessed in our union together. I am by no means even remotely an expert on the topic of marriage, but I can share what I have learned and what has worked for us.
In marriage in general, for those who are engaged or single, I would suggest to keep your heart open to finding that special person. I think that sometimes the person God sends us is not always going to match our childish ideals of a spouse, that sometimes we are sent the precise person that we need instead of what we want. It is somewhat like how parents provide healthy meals for their children even if the children would rather just eat desserts. In a similar way, I think that we are sent someone who is healthy for us and who will help us grow as people in good ways. I think too that it is extremely important to pay close attention to their character and not just personality, looks, or other things.
The reason is because while falling in love with a personality is nice, it is the character of the person that you will be living with on a day-to-day basis and it is their character which will ultimately determine if your marriage lasts or not. I wouldn’t put too much stock on lofty feelings of romance or being “in love” because believe me, I have never met a single person married for many years who claim to have remained in love the whole time. So during times when being in love fades or disappears all together, what keeps you two in the union? Character and Integrity. Not looks, money, personality, or anything else. The good thing about marriage is that it keeps you together until you can fall in love again. It allows love and commitment to gain momentum and maturity. When you chose to stay together through these tough times, the reward is tremendously greater than any other ideal that you could chase after, especially the whole notion of self-happiness, which is usually fleeting and ever-changing to begin with. Someone once said that the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness, but stability. Stability in marriage provides its own rewards that far surpass the benifits of chasing the moving target of happiness. I also like this quote by William Penn:
“In marriage do thou be wise: prefer the person before the money, virtue before beauty, the mind before body; then thou hast a wife, a friend, a companion, and a second self.”
For those who are married, I think the important part of marriage to remember is to actually be the right person for them. This should be unconditional and not dependent on how they behave, your emotions, or what you get in return. It is not something that you can neglect just because you are mad at them or simply don’t want to do. You should aim to be the right person for them without fail. This means different things for different people, however, if you both do this (read the character and integrity part above) then chances are you will have a long and content union.
For myself, finding and embracing my spiritual identity was important. Some people enter marriage already knowing their spiritual identity, for others it takes place in those early years together. It is important to help each other find and stay true to your respective spiritual identity. What I mean by this term is the role you play in day-to-day life as a spouse and parent. Not just how you divide and conquer these roles, but how you help each other each day. We all have our weaknesses and strengths, and it is important to help each other recognize and correct them to the best of our abilities. I’m speaking a bit abstractly here, but hopefully you know what I am trying to get across.
I am not perfect, but I always try my best. I keep an open mind to ways that I can be a better wife and mother at all times. I am always learning and even just recently made a huge improvement which really benefited our union. I am proud of the level of depth and maturity our union has managed to attain in such a brief amount of time. I am also looking forward to many more years of memories and time together with my husband. Even as I age, I believe I will grow even more beautiful in his eyes. The following quote sums it quite nicely:
“Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, of discipline, fortitude, and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.”