I know of several marriages right now that are ending
and many that are just beginning.
I could talk forever about how unprepared I was for marriage
when I entered into that union at the ripe old age of 23.
I was so young and so sure that it was the best decision.
I was right...but not for the reasons that I thought at the time.
Here are just a few thoughts as I reflect on
what I didn't understand about marriage
when I got married...
That being married won't fix me
won't turn me into someone brand new
won't fairy-tale away trauma
won't erase hurt
inflicted by my family of origin
or previous relationships.
That being married will break me
and I will remake myself
many times through this marriage.
That I can and will feel lust and attraction and affinity
for a myriad of people
throughout my life
and that is not a foundation
or sustenance for a covenant.
That I will have long stretches where I do not like my spouse
or romantically love him,
when I may actually hate him
where he won't love or like me either
and that won't mean that one (or both of us)
That I will remain married through times that are
impossible for me to imagine at inception-
through discomfort and confusion
through rage and anger,
home improvement fiascoes,
ER visits, breakdowns, funerals
and the ultimate hardships will be
those times where we
That taking up the role of wife is a vocation
that has specific duties which I am
almost wholly unqualified for.
That I will have to unlearn all my assumptions
to really unpack my beliefs about what a wife is,
and eliminate most of them from my perspective
to be able to approach that job
That grace is not dancing
beautifully across a ballroom floor
or white picket fences
or happily ever after.
Grace is not found in following
or keeping up with the Joneses.
That grace is choked out by too many 'shoulds'
and gets lost in the laundry.
That grace is found in searing hot messes
on a battlefield of mud
or in the soft sunshine of afternoon walks.
That grace tastes like salt-water
and sometimes stings
like hot needles in old wounds.
That the same key to connecting with a stranger
is the same key to being a wife.
It's called kindness and it
is a slow acting antidote.
That perfection is a lie
wrapped in cellophane.
That there is no formula for
navigating this existence
that doesn't include pain and struggle.
That I will need to share myself,
be willing to have spotlights on every bit of my soul
be naked in this relationship
in every way.
That I will have to decide again
to be loving
when what I want to be
That even though we both speak English
we don't speak the same language.
That we share the same last name
but we are not the same person.
That men are allowed to be afraid and weak
and women are allowed to be strong and resilient.
That we are all allowed and invited
to be all the feelings
whenever we need to be-
no rules, no limits.
That we are saving ourselves
and each other
and also letting each other down
as we walk each other home-
back to our Maker.
That marriage is a song about
on a visceral level.
That marriage teaches
That love conquers hate
but only after the fear
That getting married
was an invitation
to become closer
and more connected
to the Creator.
That these participants
in a marriage
are two whole people
who make something altogether
when they reach for the Creator
That our vows
were meant to lift us up
so that we could fly
not keep us caged
so we'd behave.
There was literally....nothing that I knew
about marriage when I got married.
Everything that I thought I knew
or that I understood about myself
or that institution
has been burned away
as this marriage has come into being.
What I know now is
That neither of these people
nor do they need
to be incarcerated
by a promise.
That I am beautiful
exactly as I am
in my brokenness-
enough all by myself (with God).
That he is beautiful
exactly as he is
in his brokenness-
enough all by himself (with God).
all three of us
more than enough...
but that it takes each of us
to make this union live.