Sunday, January 27, 2013

It’s Not About “The Marriage”

This summer, Cheri and I will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary.  Like many husbands, I don’t remember many of the details from the wedding.  I remember that Cheri was a beautiful bride and all that mattered to me was that we were getting married.  Still, it’s hard to believe that nearly twenty-nine years have passed since our wedding day.

We’ve been through a lot together.  We were married right out of college and for the first six months we barely made enough money to get by.  Our first residence was a 2 bedroom, 2 bath concrete block stucco house in south Florida.  We each brought our bedroom furniture from our parents’ homes and we had a small kitchen table.  Our living room was furnished with two folding lawn chairs, a bookcase and a 13” black and white TV.  I can remember when we had to carefully consider spending $10 to buy a charcoal grill.  We felt like real adults after that purchase!

Together we’ve bought and sold houses and cars, relocated several times, and made significant career decisions.  We’ve reared two sons into their adulthood and are very proud of both of them.  We’ve experienced financial struggles as well as abundance.  We’ve had our disagreements at times but we managed to resolve them together. 

We haven’t made it through all these years by focusing on “the marriage”.  Yes, we’ve attended a few marriage conferences and participated in small group studies on marriage.  There are some great lessons to be learned through those types of events.  But the focus of our relationship has never been about “the marriage”.  As far as we were concerned, the marriage happened when we said “I do”, and there was no turning back.

Sustaining a happy marriage relationship requires a commitment to each other.  But it is more than just a commitment to stay married.  There are many couples that manage to stay married even though they are not happy.  A happy marriage relationship requires a commitment to love each other. 

Love is more than a special feeling.  Love is a commitment to honor and cherish someone.  Love means that you are willing to put the needs and desires of someone else above your own.  Love is not about the marriage.  Love is about a husband and a wife giving up themselves for the sake of their spouse.  Love makes marriage happy.  Love makes marriage last.

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