I believe in marriage, which is surprising considering my early history with its avoidance.
Like many young males, I enjoyed a sort of serial monogamy, avoiding commitment while enjoying the company. An older mentor offered this advice, “don’t marry a woman unless you can’t live without her.”
I met this cute girl, and after a longer than average time we broke up. I recall walking across the parking lot to my van shaking my head in anger and frustration “That’s it. Never again. No women. They’re crazy.”
I moved away, but we started writing letters to each other and eventually got back together again. We both seemed to be better in letters than in person.
We stayed together for 2 or 3 years before I stupidly, selfishly, called it off. But we started writing letters to each other and got back together again.
This time it seemed to stick. We still didn’t marry. My position was that a relationship is what it is and does not need official sanction from the state. I felt that by not being married I had to try harder. I had to make sure I treated her right if I wanted her to stay with me. Twelve years into the relationship I finally proposed. It went something like “I suppose we should get married.” This was in response to her revelation that she was pregnant. We married three weeks later in a really nice small outdoor wedding with a dozen friends. We wrote our own vows and she was beautiful.
A priest once told me that he never marries anybody that isn’t already married. That described us, yet something changed, too. Something was different. It was not the end of arguments, mistakes, misunderstandings, and problems. Working those out together strengthened our marriage. There was this line and our relationship went up and down above that line. We told our daughter, “Mommy and Daddy just had an argument, but Mommy loves Daddy, and Daddy loves Mommy, and be both love you.”
Our life together is not perfect, but it’s pretty good. I tell my wife she’s adequate. She tells me she loves me anyway. Life tries to distract and pull us apart, so we pay attention and try to do things together, try to get closer. Our marriage is still a work in process, but it’s the most important thing to me. And that thing about growing old together has a nice warm feel to it. So yeah, I believe in marriage.
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