what is marriage?

I promise I'll be discussing some non-wedding/marriage topics soon, but I think today's post title is a vital question, especially for my generation. So...what is marriage, really?

The Oxford Dictionary defines marriage as: the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife; a combination or mixture of two or more elements.

You may have also heard that marriage is a commitment, a promise, a covenant, "the long game", the old "ball and chain", a "permanent mistake", and possibly, the end of life as you know it. Unfortunately, with divorce rates as high as ever and negative portrayals scattered across every form of popular media, it is easy to dwell more on the difficulties than the joys.

I've also had several people make the comment that they just "couldn't picture themselves loving one person forever." In response to that, I always think about my grandpa-- in this area, he proved quite the philosopher. 

For much of my life, I remember my grandmother being a somewhat harsh woman. Though God has brought recent opportunities for me to see a new side of her, when my grandpa was still alive, my memory consisted mostly of her nagging him and being demanding. One day, while visiting my grandpa in the nursing home, I asked him how he had loved my grandma for so long? How has they managed to stay married for 50+ years? His response was simple, like so much of who he was. He turned his bright blue eyes to me and firmly stated, "Because I choose her every day."

I have meditated on those words for years. In hoping for my future husband, in my early relationship with Strider, and now in the anticipating of our marriage. What a simple, beautiful perspective on a life spent with the woman he loved. He chose her. Every. single. day.

Just that, just a choice. Not a one-time promise of "I'll love you forever." Not a naive hope that marriage will be wonderful and magical. Not a bitter resentment of a 50-year mistake (despite the many hardships they endured). Just a simple choice to love her -- to wake up every single day and choose to love her all over again, no matter what the day would bring.

That's the love I want. To give and to receive.

Making a one-day promise to love someone forever does seem too huge and impossible for a fallible person to keep. It would be much easier to give up on the one promise that you made 10 or 20 years ago, rather than the choice you make each day. It seems easier to "fall out of love" when the love you promised was just a feeling, not a choice. 

I can't promise to feel the magic every day or look at him with googley, twitterpated eyes. 
But I can promise to choose him every day
Promise to work to love him when I don't feel like it. 
Promise to put him first even when I want to be selfish.
Promise to forgive and to fight for us.

Just a choice, every day.

courtesy of staymarriedblog.com

1 comment:

Thanks so much for your comment! I really love reading them and look forward to hearing what you have to say!