“How do we guarantee that our marriage will be ok?”
It’s a question often asked of Austin Weddings Unlimited, and the answer isn’t exactly what you want to hear. There isn’t a guarantee. There is no such thing. In fact, there are no perfect marriages either.
We hear a lot about guarantees in this culture; on TV, for our big purchases, for our technology, finances, and so forth. People marketing these products want us to feel that our purchases have real, long-lasting value. The idea that what we buy is going to last indefinitely. So with the high cost of a wedding, and all the many fabulous trimmings we buy – including the ceremony itself – it is, in fact, quite easy to start thinking we have bought ourselves a guaranteed, life-long, loving relationship.
But think about that for a moment. Shoes wear out, as do cars, computers, and TVs. So what are we to think of this idea of a guaranteed marriage? First, don’t trust it. Don’t make the fatal assumption about marriage that now the wedding is over, the good life stretches out decades ahead with nothing left for us to do to make things work but enjoy the love.
Take a wise, forgiving, and introspective look at your current relationship. What habits and choices are different between you and your partner? Does he keep neat and tidy dresser drawers? Does she pay the bills regularly and on time and know the balance in the bank account? Which one of you seems to always make the best choices, and why? Is one of you right, and the other wrong about things? If you’ve taken a wise look at your marriage you have seen that each of you brings certain strengths, habits and choices to your relationship that are essential, respectable and of value. Not necessarily right or wrong . . . just different.
Forgiveness is essential. Look into yourself and see where you have consciously forgiven your partner for whatever fault or failure might have occurred. If forgiveness is operative, effective, and real you will see that you feel better for having forgiven them; that your marriage is stronger because of that act of forgiveness you made.
There are certainly some circumstances and behaviors that happen in marriage, as in life, that demand you seek outside help. Physical abuse and self-destructive or life-threatening addictions are two.
Life is difficult. No doubt about that. But there is hope. Marriage isn’t perfect. But there are good marriages. Really good marriages have been built over time and people recover from all manner of difficulties, thereby allowing for nuptial joy to survive well beyond the excitement of the wedding day. So take the time to take a wise, forgiving and introspective look at your relationship. Enjoy the love, but don’t be naive about it.
Sam has been thankfully married to Gretta since 1972. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister performing weddings throughout the Central Texas region with Austin Weddings Unlimited. He loves biking, traveling and spending time with his grandkids.