Marriage has lost its meaning.
I recently saw an e-card on Pinterest (laugh if you want, but you know you do it too) of an old couple walking hand in hand. The caption spoke volumes to me:
“How did we manage to stay together for 65 years? We were born in a time when if something was broken we would fix it, not throw it away.”
I couldn’t agree more.
The first reason marriage has gone down the toilet is couples rush into it. You meet your soul-mate. You fall head over heels in infatuation and decide “Hey, why not get hitched?” You know what it is to be in love, but not what it is to truly love.
So you tie the knot, and everything is peachy for maybe a couple of years or so. But soon, the rose colored glasses come off and you will begin to see that your oh-so-perfect love has some things about him or her that aren’t so perfect. The things that were once cute now annoy you. Instead of passively denying your feelings for the sake of the other, you’re ready to share them, and boldly too.
All of the sudden, you panic. You think this person isn’t for you anymore because you fight all the time. Chances are they might not be, and you could have found that out by slowing down and dating them for longer to figure out how you will work through arguments and if the positives of the person outweigh the frustrations in your eyes.
But you made a commitment. A lifelong commitment through sickness and health. Still, you think about walking. Which is where the true problem with marriage and divorce arises as inspired by that adorable little Pinterest e-card.
People think a divorce is warranted if they no longer “feel” they love a person all the time. Marriage is no longer a vow made before God, your loved ones and your spouse. It’s no more than just another fling too many. It has lost its sanctity in much of our culture. So when people start figuring out that to truly love is to give of oneself, they hit the road. But so much more satisfaction, wholeness and purpose can come with selflessness and sacrifice, moving beyond the addiction of receiving and feeling love and moving toward the art of laying down one’s life for another.
Marriage isn’t getting and taking and feeling good all the time. It’s growing and standing by someone that despite the things that drive you crazy, you know there is beauty in that soul you promised yourself to.
By this point, many of you who disagree with my sentiments are probably thinking, “What say does this girl have?” Well, quite frankly, compared to wisdom of those who have been long married or divorced, very little. I’ve been with my first and only love for almost five years now, and I’m happy to say I’m still head over heels for him.
But it doesn’t mean we haven’t seen the progression of puppy dog love to something more testing but true. We’re engaged to be married this August. We’ve gone through a lot of life together, and I know we are bound to go through a lot more and things that will surely challenge us.
We both have a ton to learn, but the one thing we are very aware of is marriage will not always be easy. It’s not supposed to be. But we value its sanctity and know our lives are more meaningful with the other that it is a bond worth making and worth keeping sacred.
There are some instances in which divorce is obviously warranted. Abuse is certainly one, and adultery as well. But in the case of adultery, I am still humbled and inspired by those partners who’ve been the victims of indiscretion and even still said, “ I will stand by you” if the unfaithful partner returns and repents. I think no greater testimony to marriage remains.
So before you decide to tie the knot, slow down. College can trick you into thinking it’s the only time you will ever have to meet your future spouse. But most importantly, whether you find you take a month or a decade to get hitched, don’t mock marriage by breaking its promises.
The one you choose might not be perfect, but neither are you. If you are serious enough to say I do, it means I do. Not “I do…when I feel like it.”