When I was in 3rd grade, I had to draw a picture of my family for class. “Should I include Dad?” I thought. “Is he still part of my family if he doesn’t live with me?” I glanced at my classmates’ illustrations, composed of smiling, happy Moms, Dads, and children. I was confused by what a family meant, and I immediately felt different from my peers.
Luckily, I was young enough to be sheltered from the custody disputes in court and other legal matters. All I understood was that now my sister and I had to stay with Dad on Wednesdays and every other weekend. I despised waking up at 7:30 in the morning just so Dad could drive me to elementary school twenty miles away. I quickly associated my weekly visits with sleepy mornings and egg McMuffins that I ate for breakfast.
It didn’t seem fair that I had to change my sleeping arrangements just because Mom and Dad couldn’t get along anymore. I didn’t ask to be the victim of divorce. Why couldn’t Mom and Dad just have stayed married?
I imagine what life would be like now if my parents would have taken their marriage vows seriously. Knowing the negative effects that divorce can have on children, I want to strive for a successful marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage; I believe that it symbolizes happiness and hope, not sadness and despair. Coming from a family that has a dismal history of failed marriages, I want to be different. I want to have one wedding, one husband, one marriage.
Now that I’m engaged and planning a wedding of my own, my belief in the sanctity of marriage has strengthened. After dating my fiancé for five years, I know what it takes to maintain a relationship, and I’ve experienced first-hand the love and happiness that it can bring. Despite my own family’s failed marriages, I have complete faith in the success of our marriage because of our enduring faith in each other.
I also find solace in the marriages of my fiancé’s family and only hope to accomplish what they have. His grandparents have shared 65 years of marital bliss and are the proud parents of five children who are still married to their original spouse. This is a grand feat in today’s society, and I feel fortunate to be joining a family who shares my belief in the sanctity of marriage. Seeing one family’s success in marriage gives me confidence that when I stand before my guests on my wedding day, I will say, “I do,” for the first and last time.
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