Sometimes I think about the fact that getting married is the craziest thing I’ve ever done. It’s certainly the biggest risk. How can two people ever promise to love each other for their whole lives? It’s imprudent at the least.
I mean, I stood up in front of all of my favorite people and a representative of the God I serve and made a string of the most absolute statements I’ve ever made in my life. Even weirder, I promised to love him all the days of my life! I vowed.
It may seem unromantic, but Paul and I have talked before about how we know there may be others out there we could’ve married. The concept of a soul mate seems a little far-fetched, or at least rather dull. (To be with someone because it was destined from all eternity? No room for free will there. And how does that work out when things get tough?) However, we acknowledged to each other that we were choosing to love one another, and were quite happy about it.
Then you look at our wedding vows and see that we promised to love each other. If love is a passionate, unstoppable force that sweeps us away and fills us with joyousness, we can’t promise it to each other. If that’s what love is, I wouldn’t have bothered getting married, because why do you promise to do something you can’t help? Marriage as a confirmation of feelings people have is useless. It’s a desperate labeling of something in order to make it legitimate. “We’re getting married because we love each other!” means nothing to me. There are bound to be times in all marriages when the spouses love each other because they are married to each other. We got married because we wanted to love each other more. And let’s face it: sometimes the opportunity to do so only presents itself when there are no other options. It can be difficult, but knowing I promised is beautifully important. Obviously you want to love the other because of who he IS, and that’s good to strive for. But as humans, we’re woefully incapable of such unconditional love. Sometimes, you do it because you promised.
There was no “if” or “when” attached to our vows. No “I promise to love you when you appreciate me,” or “I promise to love you if you are being reasonable.” I’m not sure of many other times in life when people make a statement more outlandish than that of the wedding vow. It almost seems ridiculous and irresponsible. Shouldn’t such a vow be as rare as the vow of silence or solitude? Shouldn’t only hermits make such absolute statements?
I’m glad it’s not so limited, or I would never have taken the opportunity. But I made the crazy choice and took the ridiculous vow, and two years later I’m so happy I did. Paul and I had barely dated two years when we agreed to get married and about ten months after that we did it. No going back. Sometimes I think, “we hardly knew each other!” And it’s true. But we knew enough. We knew where each person’s treasure lay and we knew where each stood on the important issues. We knew we were making a conscious choice to love and we both loved doing it. We knew there would come days when we didn’t love it and we wanted to promise to love anyway. What can I say? We were young and reckless. But I’d do it again.
The craziest thing I ever did has worked out pretty well so far. It has only been two years but I’ve grown a lot and loved a lot in those years. We were blessed with a brand new person whose existence we promised to love and cherish as part of those same wedding vows. And I’m so happy our love will grow stronger every year we choose to continue loving.
I love you, Paul! Happy 2nd anniversary!