It’s the morning of our fourth day traveling north for Melanie’s wedding but I know that this is going to post on the morning after her wedding. All day yesterday I had her on my mind, so I’m going to write, this morning, about how your life partner can be your best dream, or your worst nightmare — that really is true. I doubt that any other decision in life can or will have as big an impact on the balance of your life as deciding who you’re going to marry — if you choose to marry. Personally, I don’t see why everyone doesn’t marry, but I’ve been fortunate in my choices. First, let me tell you a story.
We ate dinner at a Mexican resto attached to the hotel we stayed at. There was a party of 10 opposite us; they were not quiet: a couple in their 60’s, two children under 5, and three younger couples in their 20’s or teens. This is rural Texas, the conversations were not about theater or music, there were arguments about who brought money to pay for the meal, and one couple clearly had not grown “up” enough to get past that awkward stage where boys and girls don’t know what to do with each other and supplement their care for one another with punches and other annoying behavior. As I sat there I couldn’t help but think about our grand daughter getting married in a week. Not all the choices at the table adjacent to us had been good choices. I was glad when they finished their meal and left.
Part of my life was spent as a bi-vocational pastor. Our church did not believe in a paid ministry and so those who ministered to the congregation had to provide their own employment and income. Over a quarter century I married a few dozen couples and I was always amazed/amused/confused by the peace that any two people make between themselves and that they call “love.” The love between couples is always unique. It is always different from what anyone else is doing/expecting — but it works for that couple. (Better or Worse)
One thing is sure however. A marriage / partnership doesn’t work well without trust. And trust is something that you can start with but once you lose it you’ll never regain what you lost. Trust is probably the single more important factor in a marriage. With it a couple and overcome any obstacle. Without it almost any obstacle can bring ruination.
I think it’s important that couples keep trying — no matter what happens, or how long they’ve been together. Between the two of us we never get tired of doing things to help the other person. Whether it’s offering to refill a coffee cup or carry a suitcase, polite treatment of your partner goes a long way.
Laughing together is important. All of life is not serious and a little levity lightens the load. It doesn’t cost anything to laugh at your own mistakes — unless of course someone is always pointing them out — which is all about respect.
Respect is important. If one of the couple is always telling others about the failings (as they see them) of their partner there is no respect, and trust will rapidly erode. It’s important that you keep your minor disagreements minor and not escalate them into major problems by passing them around your social circle so that one or the other party is held up for ridicule. Respect does not ridicule.
When I think about the partner our grand daughter has found I’m glad that he cares for Melanie. I’m glad that the two of them seem to respect and care for each other. That they can laugh at their mistakes and plan for the future. One thing for sure is that every time you make plans and carry them out you have built a milestone to help you move on to the next one. The more decisions you make together the more you learn how your partner thinks and the easier the next decision is to make — because you gradually lean to accommodate your interests to each other.
It’s a scary thing to say, “To death do us part.” The ride can be amazing, or the ride can be hell. And it’s all up to the two of you. No marriage falls apart because of the actions of just one person. And no marriage succeeds because of the actions of just one person. You both have to want to be in the relationship; you both have to want it to work; you both have to be willing to make sacrifices to MAKE it work.
I’m looking forward to our grand daughter’s wedding. But more importantly, I’m looking forward to their life together. The wedding is just a party. Parties are a dime a dozen. (Figuratively — obviously a wedding is an expensive, big deal) What’s important, however, is the life they make together AFTER the wedding — and that’s what I’m waiting to witness.