Sunday, November 18, 2012

26 of 30: Popular Notion

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?

There are a lot of hot button topics out there and there's a reason why they're called "hot button topics". I really hesitated about writing this one. However, I respect that other people have their opinions and I would hope that people can respect mine. I mean, this blog is about what I think. In the end, it's not me (or anyone who might happen to read my blog) who makes the decisions about what is really right and wrong. Thank heaven for that.

Marriage is a complex, diverse and emotionally driven subject. On this blog, today, I am not going to talk about same-sex marriage. I do have an opinion. However, the climate on both sides of the argument is deadly and I just don't want to put myself out there.

I want to talk about the frivolous nature in which people today treat marriage. I want to preface this by saying that I'm not an expert in any way whatsoever. I am simply someone who happens to have some experience being married, watching my friends and family who are married or not married and I've spent some time thinking and coming to my own conclusions. You may not agree with me and that's okay. That's the joy of being an individual with your own experiences and mind. I won't step on your ideas if you promise not to step on mine. I also want to say that I'm not writing this as an advice column to help you work out all your issues. I don't have the magic formula to make marriage work. I'm still working on that, myself.

I once had a conversation with a young single mother who had lived with her boyfriend/father of her children for years. I said, "You've been together for so long, why don't you just make it official and get married?" In my mind, marriage was a beautiful way to dedicate yourself to the person you love. I suppose I was a little naive back then about the world-view on marriage. She simply stated that she didn't want to get married because it was just a piece of paper. At the time, I was so bowled over by her trivialization of marriage that I didn't have a response. As a side note, I discovered later that if she had gotten married, she wouldn't have qualified for all of the government assistance she was receiving. While I am not passing judgement, I felt this was dishonest since she lived with the guy and was benefiting from the money he was bringing in, anyway.

When we view something like marriage as "just a piece of paper", we cheapen it significantly. If it's just a piece of paper, then all you need is just another piece of paper to get out of it once things don't turn out the way you want them to. If you never got the piece of paper to begin with, all the easier to just split when things get rough.

Marriage is a commitment, a contract, a promise that we make with another human being that we love. Or at least, in my opinion, love is the ideal. I understand that some people will marry for reasons other than love, and more power to them if it works out. As for me, I choose love. We make this commitment that binds us to a person and we become responsible for them as they become responsible for us. I don't see it as an imprisonment, shackling us to another person, but a partnership in which two people can work together toward a common goal.

Marriage may not always be perfect and this is one of the areas where I also think the world in general has it wrong. For so many people, if your marriage isn't as perfect as a fairy tale, Disney movie, chick flick or romance novel, it's a failure and not worth the work of making it better. How can two imperfect people make a perfect marriage? It's simply mind-boggling that anyone would expect that. Most stories in movies and books end on or around the wedding. The epic culmination to any romance. But what about after? What about the rest of the story? The real adventure begins AFTER the wedding!

It's not always easy, in fact, most of the time it's really challenging. You're talking about sharing your life, hopes, dreams, secrets, weaknesses and strengths with another person. Your spouse may not always understand where you are coming from, and you'll frequently wonder how they can function the way they are. Yes, you might have some arguments or fights. Yes, you might have to work out some disgusting habits on either side. In the end, I believe, it just makes both of you stronger and wiser.

Every marriage has challenges. EVERY marriage. Anyone who tells you differently is a liar or deluded. Some of your friends or family may appear to have a perfect marriage when you look at it from the outside, but I guarantee that it's not. But that doesn't mean in the least that they aren't happy or that they don't love each other. You're setting yourself up for disappointment if you try to compare or model your marriage based on someone else's. The point is, you don't give up just because your spouse has some bad habits or gets on your nerves. Respect, honesty and communication go a long way.

The world says it's okay to run away if things aren't perfect. The world says we can can sweep all that under the rug and try again with another person. The world doesn't tell us to stay and do our best to build a marriage that is mutually satisfying and joyful. It's work. A marriage fails when one or both members give up.

However, I will say that there are circumstances where a divorce might be the best thing. Unrepentant abuse in all it's forms, and I include infidelity as a type of abuse, is not to be tolerated. No one should suffer through a situation like that. If the abusive spouse is willing to get counselling and try to mend their ways, there may yet be hope in those marriages.

My point is that, no matter what, each and every marriage is worth hard work and dedication. You have to actually TRY. If you can honestly say you have done everything you can to try to make a beautiful and healthy marriage, one of two things will happen. You will have a beautiful and healthy marriage that is worth every second, or, you have a spouse who won't or can't work along side you. Either way, you haven't failed. You have done your best.

Marriage is not frivolous. I am passionate about my feelings on that and unapologetic.

13 years and counting...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mawage...mawage is what bwings us togeva, today...MAWAGE, that bwessed awaangement...that DWEEM within a dweem....

Yeah...It seems to often these days that people are jumping in and out of marriage like it's a Disneyland ride. They've forgotten that marriage is an institution designed by God, and should be valued as such.


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