Saturday, March 13, 2010
I'm not mean about it, per se, but I am very aware that I'm just not as consistently polite about it as my mother raised me to be.
This is probably a good time to reinforce several truths:
It's not that I don't like the idea of marriage, and it's not that I like it too much. I'm neither adverse to joining my life with the right person's, or so jaded that I scoff anyone who does it, or even what i consider to be the worst of all -- a single person who is so envious of married people that I'm bitter that I'm not there.
I should also probably clarify that this has become my view of marriage in general, not when it specifically applies to those I'm close to, and whose love I've watched unfold and strengthen. I am fortunate beyond measure to have parents and a sibling and other close relatives and friends who have lived out the true ideal of marriage, through thick or thin, for better or worse. And I'm super, amazingly grateful for that. Really.
It's just that, since friends my age have started getting married (and unmarried), I haven't very often seen the institution being lived out as the sacred commitment I believe it should be. As a result, more often than not, I view jumping into it as a lottery purchase of sorts, or a fad weight-loss buy-in.
("You signed up for that? Just because you want the ideal version of you? And you're expecting results with no work? And you think YOUR one-in-a-million shot's gonna pan out perfectly? Ohhh-kaaay...")
And even when one -- or both -- walks down the aisle with an accurate, secure, sane definition of "forever," where's the guarantee that no one's dictionary changes after a baby is born, or a house is built, or a job is lost, or a disease is discovered?
Maybe my perspective comes from having dated a commitment phobe for too long. (Despite my protectiveness of that relationship in the past, placing myself under the direct influence of a guy who, even in his 30s, broke out into hives over "the 'L' word" couldn't have been healthy. Also, still saying "the 'L' word" in your 30s is probably not a good sign.)
Or maybe watching beautiful people whom I dearly love privately writhe in pain as their marriages shatter has taken its toll.
Or perhaps my not-so-happy-ending-assumptive view comes from the jaw-dropping, ever-growing number of my high school classmates and childhood friends who are already, after 15 years, divorce statistics...some more than once over.
Whatever the reason, I'm not always giddy when someone tells me they're engaged.
James and Melissa are, like so many dear friends of mine, a precious couple whose love has intensified and withstood enough obstacles to ensure that they'll give marriage a good name, and will treat it as holy matrimony.
I am honored to be their friend -- individually and collectively -- and am truly sad to be missing their wedding (even though James promises he understands and I've promised to share dinner and their wedding video once they're back from the honeymoon and things are a little calmer for all).
I couldn't be at their ceremony today, but my heart is full with how proud I am of my sweet friends, because I know they did not speak or feel their vows lightly, and that they won't take them lightly, either.
And because of newlyweds like they are now, I don't find myself wondering what they're getting themselves into, or only holding a mere hope that things will go okay. Because of couples like James and Melissa, today I am smiling as I'm thinking about marriage.
So here's to you, Mr. and Mrs. Findley! I'm with you in spirit, and will absolutely celebrate this special time with y'all in person as soon as life allows. May God bless and keep your life together, and make His face shine gently upon you both. And above all, may He give you peace.
I love you both.