We were out on a dog walk when all of a sudden I said “Hey, you know.. This marriage thing... It’s not at all what I thought it would be... But I like it. Actually, I LOVE it!”
Alex looked at me with a mixture of mild surprise and delight.
I started rambling, as I do, about how I’d thought that once we were married, things would continue pretty much the same. But that SO wasn’t the case. I never thought marriage would be very different to a long-term relationship but, go figure.
Alex still didn’t quite understand what I was getting at (and I’m guessing neither do you!) so I went on to try and explain.
Before we got married, we were just two people living together.
Most of our lives were still ‘each to their own’. I had my friends, he had his. I had my job, he had his. I had my income and did with it what I pleased, as did he with his. If either of us were ever stuck with anything, we’d help each other out. But, for the majority of the time, we made independent decisions for ourselves.
Then we got married. And yeah, at first, nothing much changed. But slowly and surely, different priorities were formed.
We’re approaching our second anniversary, but these two past months have been the most transformative months of all.
We’ve joined our bank accounts.
We’ve put a monthly date night in the calendar.
We’ve worked out a financial budget for our life together.
We’ve had big conversations about where we are and where we are going.
We’ve started dreaming about a long-term plan to get “there” - into the future where we own our own house and don’t have any more debt weighing down on us.
We’ve made sacrifices for each other, and we continue to sacrifice. Continue to put the other person first. Continue to face our personal struggles for the greater good of the marriage.
And I can almost say for certain that none of this effort would have been made had we just been in a long-term relationship.
What I have discovered is The Transformative Power Of Marriage.
I guess it was a concept I had heard about before but never understood until now.
In marriage, we are no longer “each to their own”. We are joint together – financially and emotionally. And we both come with our own baggage of past experiences, difficulties, weaknesses, etcetera. And therein lies the challenge, I suppose.
In the hard moments, what do you choose? Do you choose yourself and your own way of doing things? Thinking of yourself and what you want first? “It’s my way or the highway”?
Or do you choose to put your spouse first and figure out how to overcome this together?
I call this The Marriage Way. Which, if you’re a Christian, is really the same as the Jesus way.
when you try to keep things the same, that’s when they start to fail. Because a marriage was never meant for two people to just live together and do things each to their own.
Marriage is about doing life together and showing up for each other – in all aspects. it is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. it is awesome and beautiful and the best thing you'll ever experience.
Maybe it sounds like a lot of hard work, and it is. For sure! But it is also one of the most beautiful experiences this world has to offer. It is a flesh-and-bone representation of unconditional love, forgiveness and selflessness.
Do we mess up? YAS. Probably daily. But I believe that we have discovered the strength to see past each other's weaknesses. And that strength is found in the promise we made to each other.