A chip off my shoulder…

5 Sep

Okay – this one’s a bit on the angry side and I don’t mean to offend – or maybe I do? Lately I’ve been feeling quite the attack on the institution of marriage and being married myself I’m feeling quite defensive. Anyone who has dared to cut our chosen journey into bite-size pieces has been stirring this passionate response in me. I’ve never felt so protective of anything before so here goes – beware and I dare anyone to respond…

MAO is all together a true blessing to my spirit, a thorn in my side and in some ways a personal reprieve while ultimately purposed to be transparent and encouraging for those in or considering marriage.

But here’s the thing… Every day I too read relevant articles, blogs, and journals supporting sometimes even abolishing the practice of marriage. These cover love stories, failed marriages, life with/without children, newlyweds, open marriages and sometimes even personal/political agendas using the fragile state of today’s perception of marriage to their own disposal.

While I respect that there are numerous views on marriage, due to each owns relative perspectives, two types tend to test my patience more than others. Those who chose ignorance relying on popular opinion and those who swear off marriage as an out-dated institution sometimes rub my nerves so much so I want to pitch my tent and hide from the world of marriage enthusiasts and agnostics alike.

Why can’t we just be objective about marriage? I know I know, the emotions, the life chapters, the day-to-day bullshit can be pretty consuming and sometimes blinding to the simple fact that we make the decision to be HERE; in this mess/garden of love/state of reflection or whatever stage your marriage is in…

If you choose not to marry – okay. Just make your decision and be resolute but remain supportive of those who are still in favour of marriage. Your negative perspective is your own conclusion NOT everyone else’s.

Then there are those who talk about marriage as if it is such an eluded ideal, a misconception, or even a nightmare worse than the apocalypse?  I know marriages are complicated – not can be; ARE. I also know they can be achingly dull or even freakishly morphing at times…

This is the awesome journey chosen by those who are brave enough. Throw out your expectations – marriage evolves every day through co-ed existence, arduous struggles, and magnanimous victories forming life-long memories and constantly reminding you how wrong your preconceived notions really were.

I’m not surprised that many avoid marriage completely due to it’s difficulty. Marriage is not for the faint of heart.

So where did this all stem from you may ask? It’s mostly accumulated from various conversations but here’s one that definitely stands out…

Not too long ago I met this guy (note I did not use gentlemen) at my sister’s wedding that refused the institute of marriage. He was my cousin’s date and decided to spill his secret to me of never intending to marry her while letting her believe otherwise (yah – lucky me). So I changed the subject before I spit something both classy and venomous in his face.

Caught in his own moment, he so happily announced that he signed a contract with his current employment for fill in the blank years. Hmm – that’s interesting.

So I curiously asked “what’s the difference in signing a contract with a loved one who in most respects will return your hard work with love from a random company that has no interest in you other than your profitability?” He didn’t answer me. I could have answered for him…

He changed face, made some smug smirk and then foolishly decided to make repulsive advances as if to change the subject — so I left him standing alone in the corner. I hope never to meet him again.

Marriage is not a fairy tale. Yes, the paperwork makes it a legal contract – but it’s an investment. Not a thrill, chase nor even a crutch for whatever lack you carry. Your chosen partner is not a renewable resource. Let me repeat that – your chosen partner is NOT a renewable resource.

Still, why are people willing to commit to purchasing a house with a 25 year term, or sign a contract to a job that may not exist in a few years? Marriage is just another commitment – only it’s probably the biggest one that I can think of. And by commitment I mean rolling up your sleeves when it gets dirty, fighting every day for your marriage, protecting your shared investments and pouring into a life shared between two companions (notice I didn’t add compatible because it’s hardly the case in most marriages).

The great thing about marriage though is that over time it CAN appreciate. Unfortunately that’s not the case for everyone – but for many it can be the greatest investment of their life – only it’s not the kind that you make an initial deposit and sit and wait to watch it grow slowly. It’s the kind where you have to put in blood, sweat and tears to reap the benefits. Marriages don’t transpire at the alter – they are written in years of shared experience failures.

My partner – yes partner – is my best counterpart. We were the dumb ones who picked our opposites. Smart and dumb – hopefully one day wise. Our partnership was founded in love, planted in rich prayer, tended with fierce protection and admittedly is now overgrowing. We are at a place where every day something is happening… not just work or friends or at home. I’m talking about seeing our initial seeded decisions (investments so call it) grow exponentially.

We made a lot of stupid decisions in our first year, but in the following ones we started planting rather than waiting. Right here and now, our future marriage is open, wide and propelling. Our marriage is at the forefront of our lives and we know that we would never have gotten here without each other.

These are the stories of marriage that don’t get published. Unfortunately we get to hear about the failures more often than the successes. Yes, some marriages fail. Some just end too.

Take for instance… The Gores. Still successful even through divorce – they have made their decisions, and are continuing in each of their own written chapters – amicably. That they could do so and remains friends is admirable. (I doubt they’ll disappear from each other’s radar). They invested 40 years – much longer than anyone could attest. I would like to see someone commit 40 years to ANYTHING! Do they sound like they know themselves and each other? I think so – forty years offers enough time. Marriage offers enough time.

The fear factor of marriage diminishes when you educate and prepare yourself – so read something. If you’re able to get a grip on your life, you’ll attract another person doing the same thing. Raise your standards and catch yourself the best mate. You’re prime for marriage if you’re able to bless, comfort, support and cherish someone else without reciprocation (although it definitely puts icing on the cake).

Marriage is a choice – an institution that blesses those who brave this life-long shared challenge. We are privileged to have this opportunity to advance ourselves within a shared reality than as mere individuals.

We are both capable and smart enough to make marriage successful.

I have never truly known happiness, fulfillment or success until I married my partner. Nor have I ever cried, had my heart broken, and lost with greater capacity. But these are the war wounds and the positive spirit I carry to mark my marriage as something different; as something better than singledom.

Yes, the odds are against us, but we are today’s defining odds – and we WILL prove them wrong.

Feel differently? Prove me wrong…

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