Marriage – A Beginning, Not an End

“Do you remember when I wanted to keep my tennis bag in your closet? It was our worst fight of 2006.”

“I remember that. I hated that. What if I needed to get my snorkel, okay? And I had to lift your dumb tennis bag to get it?”

“Imagine that times a million. That’s marriage. Except the closet is your entire life, and the tennis bag is a guy. And sometimes you will find his toenail clippings scattered around your toilet.”

[From The Mindy Project]

marriage-thoughtsIt seems marriage has become the topic of ridicule and mockery. I’m not bashing the new show the above quote is from – it’s actually quite funny and enjoyable, created by Mindy Kaling of The Office fame.

But it seems like the prestige and honor of marriage has been replaced by the glamor and dazzle of bachelorhood and promiscuity. Not that this is anything new.

But honestly, when is the last time you’ve heard a good word spoken about marriage? When is the last time you’ve spoken honorably about your spouse?

I’d say it’s funny, but it’s not. We spend the whole first part of our lives searching for our significant other – someone to spend the rest of our lives with. And then, when we find that person, we grow tired, and spend our time wanting out.

(The Man in the Box is a great book for those who feel this way.)

I, myself, often forget that marriage takes work. I take for granted that I don’t have to stress over who I’m going to take out on Friday night (not that that was often), or figure out some clever way to score a girl’s phone number (I got numbers to Bill’s Plumbing and Domino’s quite often).

Then I met Sarabeth. I achieved the Big Yes. I said “I do” …At 25.

If I live to be a hundred, I’ve still got 75% of my life to live.

We get this idea in our heads that marriage is the end-all goal, when in fact, things are just beginning!

For you 21st-century, Generation-X thinkers, think of it this way. Marriage is:

* R2D2 and C3PO delivering Princess Leah’s message to Luke

* Batman meeting Robin

* Woody finding Buzz Lightyear

*Signing the Constitution

* Microsoft buying out NBC

*Just the beginning!

I love Disney movies. But they repeatedly got one thing wrong with their classic princess movies:

Marriage is once upon a time. Not happily ever after.

Happily ever after is years of commitment and devotion and love in the wake of an elderly couple still holding hands … not the first kiss after slaying the dragon.

The dragon invades our marriages in the form of finances, late oil checks, dirty diapers, dirty kitchens, morning breath, unseemly hair, gas, burnt food, the Hallmark channel, etc.

So, a reminder to married people and to myself: let’s begin to treat marriage as the midst of a journey we’re trekking through, each bounding toward a certain goal, warding off the dragons together.

To those of you not yet married, start ingraining it into your heads that marriage is the start of a new life, not some early retirement.

I’m thankful to be married to my wife. Her corrections sometimes sting, and my attitude toward her often needs to be checked. But with her help, I am growing and learning, and without a doubt, I am a much better person today because of her, than I was eight or ten years ago. (I dress better, too!)

And no matter what, I know she loves me, and I love her, and we never have to worry about who we’re going to spend Friday night with.

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About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

46 Responses to Marriage – A Beginning, Not an End

  1. citizenwife says:

    I loved this post! I get so much flack from single friends about oh your life is over blah blah blah. Now, that most of us are turning 30, the novelty of our 20’s has worn off. They’re all starting to see what a wonderful idea marriage might be. I also agree that a lot of movies create an ideal in people as to what marriage is supposed to be, not what it really is.

    • You’re correct. It’s too bad seeing the negative connotations associated with marriage be the only views expressed through entertainment, teaching people to flee marriage like the plauge. Glad you liked the post!

    • lpatangan says:

      Well said! I have been married 15 years now and I really think it only gets better. There is such comfort and peace that comes from getting over all the hoopla and having your true selves embraced by another — flaws and all 🙂

    • thescreamingauthor says:

      I really dug this blog. I have been married for 20 years and have been with him 21 years. I was 17 when we met and I have been thankful ever since to have someone to share my life with. Marriage is work but the rewards are worth the effort. I would not change being married for 1000 single nights. There is real comfort in sharing your life with someone and connecting beyond words with someone who knows you as well as you know yourself. Again awesome blog.

  2. deshipley says:

    I agree about marriage being too often treated like the “Happily Ever After”. It makes for a great scene ending before intermission, sure, but then what? While I’m all for fairytales — (the first volume of my own “Wilderhark Tales” novella series is coming out soon!) — I’d like to read more of them where we get to see the prince and princess after the wedding, and they’re happy not because every day is perfect, but because they still love each other and are, as you said, willing to take on whatever dragons come their way together. (That’s why part of me wishes we could skip straight to “Wilderhark Tales” volumes 2 and 3 and…! But first things first.)

  3. Jane Sadek says:

    I’ve got almost twenty years of marriage under my belt. Does it take work? Sure, but developing good habits makes the road easier. Just being sure to communicate and have fun together makes all the difference in the world. And you aren’t having to do the work 24/7. There’s a lot of good stuff in the meantime. Marriage can be a happily ever after – you just have to be willing to to overlook the bumps in the road. About halfway to where I am today, we did have a rough patch, but we were committed to one another and looked to God, rather than each other, for the solution. I spend a lot of time telling other people how wonderful my husband is, but I also make sure he hears it – a lot.

  4. Refreshing! I was working on a story showing appreciation of my marriage and got interrupted and read this. It is definitely about the story we write together, the adventures we endure and reach for and create. It’s dynamic and full of surprises. Some are smooth and some are rough, but they’re all wonderfully together and forward into the future, not over and sinking into the couch.

  5. mlw2it says:

    A wish man once told me that the problem with marriage is that the things we find important in life change as we grow older. To make a marriage work, both people have to make sure that their spouse never falls from that list.

  6. You are right – Getting Married is the just the beginning of forever together.. the forging of an alliance because what happens next is not always happily ever after …but at least you have a ally to slay the dragons with

  7. These are really great thoughts! Thanks for sharing and thanks for following my blog! 🙂 Following you back.

  8. Pingback: Office Romance | adoptingjames

  9. Obafemi says:

    Excellent post! The generation X is having the worst marriage nightmare so far! Divorce rates are high. We just can’t figure out why marriage needs so much sacrifice and work. “Ain’t it mainly about making babies & being with someone U love?” We like to think. Thank U for the nudge!

  10. meenas17 says:

    Thanks for following my blog.
    Your post on “Marriage” throws light on the subject .
    marriage is an understanding and an attempt to coexist . It would be tough in the initial years .but as years go by it would be Heaven..

  11. joseyphina says:

    Nice post, James…..and thanks for passing by my site and following. really appreciate it. have a nice day 🙂

  12. Sarah Evans says:

    This is so true. My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years, and relationships are HARD. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m sure there will be more as our lives together continue.

    (Also, thanks for the follow, and I’m following you too now.)

  13. zehirablog says:

    I was also married at 25 and have been with my husband now for almost 9 years. Cliched as it is I love him more with every passing day and I am not ashamed to admit it – but some days are hard!!! Such a great post summing up this evocative topic – thank you for sharing it.

  14. honeywillow says:

    I love this thought-provoking post. You’re right: marriage is a journey, not a destination and the need for dragon-slaying continues long after the ‘I dos’!

  15. Pingback: Best Moment Award | Zehira-blog

  16. zehirablog says:

    I really enjoy your Blog and I have nominated you for the Best Moment Award.
    For details check out: http://zehirablog.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/best-moment-award/

  17. Heather says:

    Love the “warding off dragons together” metaphor. Marriage is such a blessing from the Lord. Yes, it is hard work, and takes commitment, and a lot of prayer, at times. But, there is nothing more sacred and initmate than that relationship (except for our relationship with Jesus, of course). In a generation where marriage is considered a dirty word, is devalued and minimized, it is refreshing to hear your perspective, which is a Godly one. Thank you for stopping by my blog and following, as well. God Bless you and your family!

  18. Shirley R Graceya says:

    That’s so sweet. I’m glad to see people who are still committed and facing all challenges to make a happy marriage. God bless your family and make it a blessing to others.

  19. Dr Iffi says:

    An excellent writeup ……… today it seems that if we praise our husbands or wives we’ll be mocked for praising them …….

  20. storythom says:

    Thanks for folowing my blog, storythom.wordpress.com. I hope you enjoy the novels I’m putting there. I commend you for becoming foster parents; may you bless the lives of many children who desperately need a safe environment in which to grow.

  21. thewaltzoftheflowers says:

    What a great post. Thank you for following my blog Andrew. I just started it last night so I’m still new to this wordpress thing and figuring everything out. Anyways, It’s wonderful to see that there are some people in the world that still hold marriage as true and pure and beautiful as it’s meant to be. I love your thoughts on “marriage in the mind of generation X” , haha “woody finding buzz lightyear” that description is just endearingly jovial and true! I think it is utmost wonderful that believe so fervently in the graces of marriage and that it’s not the “end-all” but the beginning of a forever. How chivalrous of you Andrew. I’m sure that your lovely wife Sarabeth is grateful to have you as her life-long partner. These posts about love being a forever, not just a “once upon a time” are just so pleasant to read and uplifting to the soul. I too hope to one day get married, and grow old together with my hubby with forever written on our hearts. Keep posting these beautiful pieces, i’m sure you’ve inspired many as you have inspired one.

  22. Inspiring and amazing posts, this is something every one who wants to get married should get into their heads, hearts and minds. Marriage takes work, commitment and more, thank you for sharing.

  23. Cres says:

    This post made me tear up, it’s so well written and so true, yes sometimes I take my spouse for granted. Marriage is the start , yes, very true……

  24. Reblogged this on Tighter with Taiti and commented:
    An interesting read. Check it out and let us know what you think.

  25. pattynicnac says:

    Marriage does get a lot of bad press these days. Good to hear positive reflections. I’m on the board of a non-profit, Marriage Matters Jackson, with the goal of promoting, preparing and preserving healthy marriages. It’s an uphill battle. People don’t make the connection between many of societies problems and the decline in marriage as an institution. Keep speaking for marriage!

  26. If I had to be with someone every minute of my life, it would be my wife of forty-two years. Many thanx for visiting my blog and good luck with your book sales. Peace.

  27. Bindu says:

    Loved this post. I have been married for almost 14 years. Just like most of the arranged marriages the initial years were the toughest. Later, things did not get any better but we just got used to them and to each other. It is how you look at each other. As it is impossible for us to change our character there will be just two options left – separation or accepting each other with a bit of compassion. But go for the first option if it is a abusive relationship.

    • Arranged marriages have always been a fascinating thing to me. Thank you for sharing this with us (and I’m glad you’re still married, hard as it may be sometimes; you’re an inspiration to the rest of us).

  28. Aaaah marriage … You can’t live with it and can’t live without it. People that are married often think that the ‘grass is greener’ but find it is quite dry when they go walking through it. The grass is greener where it is watered and nurtured. On the flip side most single people just want to find that soulmate … Are we ever happy? Thanks for the follow 🙂

  29. Thanks for the follow. And thank you for this lovely article on marriage: My husband and I will be celebrating our 16th marriage anniversary next week, and thoughts of what marriage has really meant to me having been doing the rounds in my head. I found lots to connect with here. Thanks and will be exploring your blog over the next few days.

  30. sfwebb says:

    Thank you. Good to have a reality check. All too easy to take for granted what we do have without appreciating it and bemoaning what we don’t have. Like your post and thoughts, thanks for sharing them.

  31. booklovinggrandma says:

    Marriage is many beginnings. Thank you for this wonderful post and for following my blog.

  32. Val_ToWriter says:

    I’ve been married for over 40 years and have fallen in and out of love many times. So many times one hears that people separate or divorce because he/she has changed — “they’re not the person I married.” Duh. We’re supposed to change, to grow, to mature. That doesn’t mean that we both grow at the same rate or at the same time. Sometimes is takes longer for one person to “get it.” I hate arguing, raised voices, confrontation, so I had to learn to communicate my unhappiness, displeasure, disappointment in a reasonable way. It’s been an important lesson — if I hadn’t learned it I would have become resentful, unhappy and unfulfilled. I had to seek help to express myself with more confidence, to be truthful. Communication is crucial and learning how to give it and take it is essential.

    • What a great way of putting it. I love what you wrote here about the important lesson you’ve learned by not raising your voice or arguing. Such a tough thing to keep from doing in a marriage sometimes if we’re not careful.

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