What is Marriage
By Bernadette A. Moyer
What is marriage? For different people it can be different things. Young girls often have this fairy tale idea of a wedding and marriage with the white dress, big cake and that perfect groom. They think it will be happy-ever-after and nothing but love. Seasoned professionals who have been married for a lengthy period of time come to have a deeper understanding of marriage.
“The older I get the less time I want to spend with the part of the human race that didn’t marry me.” Robert Brault
“The secret to a long and happy marriage is a short memory.” Lou Holtz
I do believe that the ability to forgive is part of any long term relationship, we all hurt and we all get hurt, often by the very person we chose to marry. Not every day is going to go our way or be a great day but in a healthy marriage you learn to accept the good with the bad. For most people that responded to this question there was no easy or simple answer. Marriage like any relationship takes work. To live intimately with one person and to smack up against all that is good and some not so good takes commitment and courage. Love is a choice. Marriage is a choice and where it may not be for everyone, studies support that those people living in loving and committed relationship tend to live longer lives.
“We are coming up on our 26th anniversary. When I was little I dreamt of marrying a man that was perfect. Those were the dreams of a child. I could never have possibly understood how much I could trust, believe, hope in, admire and love just one person so much. My husband has comforted me in my darkest times, made me laugh when I did not want to … loved me unconditionally. I did find out that marriage is hard, a growing experience and can never really be defined.” TS
“My concept of marriage has changed over the years. When I was a newlywed I thought of marriage as forever, until death do us part, no matter what. I didn’t even conceive that there could be “deal breakers.” When my marriage ended, I was able to get an annulment which helped in the healing process for me.” TW
“Marriage to me means a fierce and strong bond between two spouses; one that after a while of developing decades of ‘history,’ neither could even think about starting over with someone else. It’s a constant, it’s a bond, and it is one of the most important relationships we will endure … through thick and thin … over mountains and valleys … and when it outlasts all of that, it’s true.” SS
“To me, marriage is a companionship with another human resulting from a complete choice that we made ourselves. It is the greatest teacher of ACCEPTANCE that there is. If our marriage is fruitful, it should allow us to be our best selves so that we can grow together as partners that genuinely care about each other, all the while allowing us to be the best possible individuals we can be.” DK
“You are not alone, “me” is replaced with “we” as we do and think like a team rather than as an individual. There is love and acceptance and we are our truest and safest selves when we are together. Being there for all the good and the bad, knowing we are in it until death do us part.” WD
“When my wife met someone else, she broke the bonds of our marriage. She decided she wanted him and not me. It broke my heart back then but after my divorce I learned that she was not the right person for me. Today I am happily married and I thank God we never had children together so that it was an easy and clean break.“ AS
Marriage Me (from Bare Breasted Heart 1999)
Married, what? Changing, growing
Personal space, this stuff
Happy together, happy enough
Good today, sorrow tomorrow
Married, married, Married, looking
Married, not looking
Grow together, grow apart
Happy ever after
A legal contract on two hearts
Till death we shall not part
Marriage, what, how does it last
Time together, time apart
Love changes, good and grand
A contract, ownership, like land
Friendship, romance, some luck, some chance
Compassion, stride, forget your pride
Togetherness, forgiveness, communication lines
Marriage, your idea, or mine
Sometimes a marriage teaches us what we don’t want in a partner, some people marry many times until they get it right or run out of time. Some people are meant to be married and some aren’t, to be married is to share.
My husband and I have been together for 21 years; we have known the highest of highs and known our share of grief and sorrow. The glue that keeps us together, no matter what the fight, is our knowing that we are better together than we would ever be apart.
Brian’s grandparents were together for 58 years before death and his parents for 54 years before his mother died. He had really great role models in knowing what family looks like and in keeping their vows. I credit my husband for much of the success in our marriage; I never knew such a degree of love, acceptance, and commitment and of caring until we came together. He was the first person that ever taught me the true value in loyalty, and true stability. He loves me for who I am not some idea of who I am. He makes me feel safe and better at everything I do. We are best friend’s first and life partners second; we are in love and choose to put each other and our marriage first.
Relationships are living breathing things, often tricky to navigate but well worth the effort when we have chosen well. There is nothing that takes the place of having decades of intimate history with our spouses.
As I opened this question up to many others, I could tell that it created thought, as it did for me too. There is no easy answer, each couple defines their marriage. I have never believed that a marriage was a “failure” but rather that it may have run its own natural course. To everything there is a beginning, middle and an ending.
If a marriage didn’t last “until death do us part” perhaps it was never meant to last that long, surely we learn from every relationship no matter how long. What I know for sure is that marriage is work and with the right partner worth every bit of effort.
With two decades under our belts, we don’t have all the answers, but what we do have is the desire to continue to date one another, love and care for one another and to be each other’s best friend. What more can we ask for?
Here is to love and marriage and to all those brave hearts that are willing to try and give it a shot! At best you will receive a life partner and at worst a learning opportunity …