Marriage – A Beginning, Not an End
April 9, 2013 46 Comments
“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]
It 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But it seems like the prestige and honor of marriage has been replaced by the glamor and dazzle of bachelorhood and promiscuity.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.