I suppose that if you’ve read anything I’ve written here, you’ll assume I have nothing in me but a negative tilt. My expressions here are the freest outpourings from my heart, truth be told. Yes, my life right now has a lot of turns in the road. I’m excited, a little bit worried, and sometimes upset by those turns. Never think that I am sat in some dark room, waiting for the tears to stop. Every day I do something that makes me smile, and that’s all I have to run on right now. It won’t always be this way.
I’ve been severely depressed at about a six month cycle. Maybe once or twice a year I get to the point of self deprivation and that tell-tale sludge of life. Getting up in the morning, getting dressed, going outside, or doing almost anything else becomes just as hard as climbing a mountain on roller skates. Depression is no joke, and I can only imagine the struggle of those who deal with it on a more regular basis. We owe it to ourselves to make the best of every moment. All there is is right now. I have to remind myself that life isn’t going to be the same tomorrow, and that I shouldn’t be expecting anything but the best.
All of that said, I would like to lend a bit of credence to the idea of marriage, or long term relationships in general. Marriage, as I see it, is the easiest way to describe a whole-hearted commitment to one person. When I said my vows I was not going through the motions. That moment, in front of 200 people, was like being branded. I can’t remove it and I hope I never will.
Why do people get married? As a Christian at the time of my marriage, it was understood that the example of marriage was set by God and his bride, the church. Honestly, within the context of Christianity, I wondered why more people don’t get married. It is clear why they fall short and end those relationships, but Christians honor marriage deeply. One of the many takeaways from biblical marriage is to love someone through the pain and the damages. Sacrificing for your spouse is one of the most honorable things I think we see in marriage. Outside the church, why do people have a ceremony and commit themselves to each other in such a public way?
In our culture it is normal. This suggests that one who doesn’t marry is for some reason suffering from a deficit. “Is she like a total bitch at home? Does he have some weird quirk like sleeping with the lights on or is he abusive?” If you see a 40 year old dude who hasn’t been married, our culture thinks of him as some kind of misfit. After all, we have a biological need to reproduce, right? This stigma is frankly annoying.
For me, in the most reduced terms, a marriage is a legal agreement and an emotional step towards a long-term projection of teamwork. Husband and wife working together towards a common goal. I like analogies, and one that I’ve found helpful (if a little simplistic) is that of a vehicle. If you went to sign the title on a vehicle you would wait until you’re prepared to take care of it. You would learn about your future car, take it out on a couple dates, run it past your friends, and seriously consider the commitment you are about to make. Once you have legally joined yourself to this car, you expect for it to serve your purposes. Now, of course a relationship should be about giving to your partner in order to make them better. With a car you just use it for your own betterment.
So why would anyone get married? Beyond fiscal reasons and other logistical attributes I consider marriage to be a way of carrying you across the troubled times. I am much, MUCH, less likely to “peace out” of a marriage because I made a very formal agreement. I have the accountability of a church full of family and friends. They would ask “Why did you divorce?” I wouldn’t get away with saying that we were just in different places in life. Once you are married, your reasons for leaving have to be damn good to pass muster. If Red Riding Hood and I were dating, we would have parted ways long ago.
This is such a shallow dive, but it puts me in the mind to ask: Why am I still married? I sense a Pros and Cons list in the air.
If I imagine a life apart from my wife I see a lot of really cool stuff. If I similarly imagine us together all I see is an insane amount of time spent on making our developing lives jive. She likes A, I like B. I knew we would change over time, but I never expected to have a wife that so thoroughly despises me and the life I live. If we met for the first time today, we wouldn’t be friends, much less lovers. We have more issues than a Nat Geo, as they say. So, should I stick around to see if we can’t personally grow to work together…or should I move on, round the corner, and embrace growth independently from Red? What do you think?