A Love for the Ages

Many of you know the legendary love story of Mr. B and Miss Carrie. He will tell you that I acted mature for my age, but that isn’t saying much, when I think back on it all. So, maybe I acted seventeen or eighteen? Yeah, that’s an improvement! Ha! We started dating when I was fourteen and married when I was sixteen. Goodness gracious!

What makes a marriage work? How do two people stay together long enough to celebrate their “golden” wedding anniversary?

I can remember specific moments that we would be, shall we say, disagreeing with one another…loudly. I recall telling myself, “You’re going too far. You better shut up now.” What if I had let my pride incite me to put in one more cutting comment? Maybe I’d have won the battle, but I’d have lost the war.

Sometimes, we get to rolling down a hill, picking up momentum and we just can’t stop ourselves. Don’t we? There was more than one of those moments for us, to be sure. We stopped just short of calling it quits and giving up.

Before we married, I remember telling Steve that we’d wait to have kids so we could make sure the marriage would work. (My parents had divorced and I wanted to spare my children.)

I can still see the look on Steve’s face, like “What?!?! That’s crazy talk!” (His parents were not divorced, so he had a completely different vantage point than mine.) Then he said, “If you don’t think it will work, then we won’t get married. You can’t go into it with that attitude.”

Such wisdom!

I see so many young folks living together. They don’t see a problem with it. They say that they want to make sure they are compatible before they get married. They say they want to protect their children. They want to make sure that the sex is great, too, I reckon.

I get it.

But, the reality of it is that we are more than just sexual beings. If you have an escape route, you won’t work as hard on the relationship. You won’t be as committed, nor will your “roommate”.

Here’s how it works. When you enter into a covenant relationship, you are making a forever promise. My vows were/are: I take Stephen to be my husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better – for worse, for richer – for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others, till death do us part. This pledge was said loudly and clearly, as we held hands before God, a preacher and a bunch of family and friends. There were lovely gowns, tuxedos, flowers, music and smiles.

I promised to love him and to be with him until one of us dies.

We have our disagreements, arguments and differences of opinion. Some days, we struggle to like each other. We stay. We talk. We work it out. We find a way to compromise. We love and respect each other enough to do the hard work. Counseling? Yep.

We’re two stubborn, imperfect, God-loving people who are trying to share a bathroom.

We believe that our marriage is worthy of our best efforts. I want more for him than I want for myself. I literally trust him with my life. He will never knowingly make a decision that would harm me. I don’t have to wonder if he loves me.

We have friends who have had marriage issues. Some have been able to work through them and others have not. It takes two for any relationship to work. If one of you wants to give and the other wants to take, that won’t work.

[If you are divorced or are living with a “roommate”, this is not a judgment on you or your situation! This is written to inspire the young ‘uns who are making life choices. I’m just giving my side of the story.]

I’ve heard it said that “Marriage is not humanly possible.” Think on that for a few minutes.

Nope. It’s not.

If you love someone enough to want to live together, consider if you are willing to commit every single part of you to his/her care. If not, maybe it is just about the convenient sex and saving money on rent and utilities. Please excuse my bluntness, but seriously, you’re not fooling anyone. I see it all the time and I feel sorry that these couples are missing the best parts.

There is a difference when life happens.

1.) When you mess up, maybe your roommate kicks you out. Done.

2.) When you mess up, your spouse accepts your apology, forgives you and moves on, because tomorrow, it may be your spouse that messes up and will need you to accept an apology, forgive and move on.

Yeah, I’ll take choice number 2, please, because I mess up often and need someone who will hang with me and love me anyway; someone who will be my date and dress up in a Hawaiian flowery shirt for a Beach Boys concert because he loves making me smile.

Do Mr. B and I have “a love for the ages”? Do we have a love that can stand the test of time, four teenagers and ceilings that cave in?

I kinda think we might.