Marriage Changes Things
Some time ago, a girlfriend told me that she thought she’d never marry because “marriage changes things”. She meant it in a bad way as she looked at all the divorces and watched her mother’s husband go from a decent guy as her boyfriend to a nasty person after they married. She saw marriage as the cause of the breakdown of these relationships.
This, of course, wasn’t reality, but she was right that marriage changes things. It’s much more than just moving in with someone you love. I knew this in theory, but didn’t understand what it really meant.
Steven and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Sunday. So, naturally, I’m reflecting quite a lot these days. We’ve had our ups and downs this year. Our first few months were really difficult. The transition was harder than I expected, and I was battling depression from the birth control I was taking. But once I went off the birth control and we made some of the transition, things settled down. We’ve developed some routines that work for us, and a deep comfort with each other is starting to grow. We are, of course, still learning tons about ourselves, each other and life, and I expect that to never change.
But there is something deeper to marriage than just learning to live with one another. It’s a holy and profoundly spiritual thing, even for those who do not acknowledge it. It is a mystery how and what God does to unite a man and a woman in marriage. I certainly do not understand it, and my experience is much more limited than many others’. But I have seen a little of the effects of this union played out in life.
It seems to me that marriage brings out the real you. It strips off the veneer that we often put up so we look “pretty” to the world around us. Somehow, even though we’d talked a lot before getting married, did counseling, and went through some pretty difficult stuff, parts of that veneer still stuck. But somewhere between the “I do” and the end of the honeymoon, it was gone (or at least almost; I’m sure there are deeper layers to come off down the road).
Getting a glimpse of the real you can be scary stuff! I’ve had to admit some not very pretty things about myself that I’ve seen reflected in our marriage. But this has allowed me to simply be myself in my marriage and opens the possibility of being loved for me, not the image I project. I have also seen the fruit of the work of God and our own hard work during the previous years. And that has been cause for some great celebration!
Marriage reveals who your spouse really is, as well. When I married Steven, I knew I was getting one exceptional man. But, as we’ve navigated this first year, I’ve come to appreciate that even more. You know how when you are young and single (and perhaps naïve), you make those lists of the qualities you want your future spouse to have? I’ve come to realize that Steven meets all the qualities that I would have put on my list had I known what I really needed. Thankfully God knew!
We are very alike in many ways – our interests, our world view, our general outlook on and goals for life. But in many others we are opposites and complement each other, even while these differences sometimes cause friction. His spontaneity and ability to play balances my cautious planning and reserved nature. His deep compassion for people helps me put aside my very task-oriented tendencies. His faith and growth in the Lord have renewed mine. His humility and ability to discuss problems and miscommunications in a calm way is such a blessing. He is tender and sweet, with a quiet strength, and keeps me laughing (or groaning, depending on just how bad the joke was). In short, my husband rocks! I am so glad to be on this journey of life with him!
So, yes, marriage changes things…and I’m so glad!
I love you Steven! Happy Anniversary!
Photos by Andrei Matetic, a great friend and one of our fabulous wedding photographers!