“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”
"So, why do you want to get married?"
After all, we had courted for more than 5 years and we thought that we loved each other very much. So getting married was a natural and rightful progression. There was no drama in my proposal. I simply asked her, "Shall we get married?". And she replied, "Yes!"
I think many couples may be like us. They do not really know the anchoring reason for getting married. Some wiser ones might have pondered over this before making their commitment to marry. But they could have forgotten it over the years.
Not knowing the anchoring reason to get married certainly did not help Michelle and I in our journey as a couple.
Let me share our story.
18 months into our union and when Michelle was pregnant with our first child, a variant of that question came up. While we were quarreling over an issue, one of us uttered, "Since we are so unhappy, let's get a divorce".
Following that, the fundamental question that we did not ask ourselves before we got married mutated to, "Why did I marry you in the first place?" Ugly and painful thoughts pierced our mind and tears flowed from our eyes.
I thank God that we did not go beyond angrily uttering those dreadful words of separation. That was the last time ever that we have that terrible thought. I am glad and thankful to God that we did not only survive that storm, we live to tell you what we have done to prevent this from ever happening in a marriage.
Sometime ago, I asked her this question again. She said that she married me because she loves me. While I am happy to hear that, I thought she needed a better reason if she wanted to stay married to me for life.
What if, for some reasons, I become less lovable or she doesn't love me any more? Does that mean that she won't want to stay married to me for the rest of her life?
It set us thinking.
So, why did we marry each other in the first place? What is that one pivotal reason we must always remember, such that in the good and the bad times of our relationship, will provide a formidable anchor to keep our marriage intact?
The question for us was appropriately refined to, "Why do we want to stay married to one another?"
Michelle and I dug deep individually to find that reason. We came up with more than one reason each and interestingly, without conferring with each other, we arrived at three similar reasons:-
#1 - We believe that it is God who has given us one to another.
This is the most important reason. Believing this compels us to agree that there is no one better to be our partner for life. So, everyone else is only second best.
More importantly, we acknowledge that we are in a tripartite union, Michelle, I and God. Surely what God has joined together, no man shall separate. No man includes us!
#2 - We truly love each other and want to grow old together. In no other arms do we want to die in.
We fell in love more than 35 years ago. Then, we grew in love for the last 35 years. We truly love one another and want to be together till death separates us.
Remembering this constantly gives Michelle and I the motivation to live each day as loving as we can be, even on those days that we are not as lovable as we should be.
#3 - As a couple, we are in God's master plan to bring the people of the world to a reconciled relationship with Him.
This is our service as a couple to our Creator and to the people we love. For this, we are motivated to look beyond each other's failures, selfishness, bad habits and even idiosyncrasies. We share a greater cause. Having God's big picture edged into our hearts, we are energized to love each other more, especially at times when we face challenges in our relationship.
Michelle and I found our reasons for wanting to stay married to one another. We constantly remind ourselves of these reasons. We know that we want to and will stay happily married despite challenging times ahead.
We know deep in our hearts why we got married and want to stay married to each other for life.
I urge you to dig deep and know why you want to stay married to your spouse and keep reminding yourself of this reason so that you can be the great lover.
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