Monday, December 16, 2013

Marriage - A Long Walk for Two

I was given the honor to address the couples at their marriage enrichment course graduation celebration last evening. These couples invested time to attend the 10-session course to strengthen their marriage.

Against all conventional wisdom and risking not to be invited to another graduation celebration, I told the couples that all they learned from the course was useless. Pausing to let my words sink in, I observed the uncomfortable reactions and shocked faces. I quickly qualified my statement by saying that no course will ever help any couple in their marriage if they did not put into practise what they have learned.

The keyword is action; deliberate action to make marriage work. 

Marriage is a long walk with no graduation

I shared that there is no graduation in marriage. Michelle and I have been married for 31 years and we are still learning how to better our relationship.
Our marriage has been and continues to be a long walk between the two of us. When we woke up from our first night as husband and wife, we were no different from the two individuals a day before.
The phrase, "and the two shall become one flesh" did not create the miracle of change in us overnight. And not for a long time afterwards. But into our new life together, we brought along our strengths, weaknesses, character, old baggage, hope and new aspirations.

We journeyed through interesting terrains. On many days we were on the mountaintop, high with great passion and zest for life with each other. On other days, feeling of love hid from us and living together seemed painful.

We have had many sunny days in which we felt so loved. Just as many were stormy days in which our walk became arduous. On some days we enjoyed our conversation so much that we wished it never had to end. On other days our careless words hurt each other.

Like many other travelers in this journey, we don't exactly know the destination, and even when we have some semblance of a plan, we don't know when we will arrive. 

But we keep on traveling. Hand-in-hand, step-by-step and remembering our vows to each other. Learning day-by-day to be better at how to love each other more, increase our patience and tolerance, accept each other and how to consider the other above our self.

Gary Thomas is spot on when he wrote (Sacred Marriage) that "A good marriage is not something you find, it is something you work for."  

Congratulations, but not for completing the course
Still I congratulated the couples who graduated, but not for completing it. Instead, I congratulated them for being interested in their marriage.

That must have been the predominant reason they invested their time to attend the course. They were interested in their marriage. They want to make it work, make it better and end well.

And I made them look into their spouse's eyes to say, "Thank you for being interested in our marriage." 

Keep your interest in your marriage growing

While you fell in love quite easily, love won't simply fall into your marriage. A good marriage needs hard work, and lots of it. So keep your interest in your marriage growing so that your marriage will be glowing.

The married life is no fairy tale. You won't end up living happily ever just like that.  You have to work for it. As much as there will be joy and love, there will be lots of differences, disagreements, arguments, tears and heartaches. These are the ingredients for you to cook up a meaningful and loving relationship that will last. When properly handled, these ingredients will spout joy in adversity, peace in storm, and love that will carry you meaningfully to the sunset of life.

Michelle and I committed to make our marriage glow. We work hard at it and are enjoying fulfillment beyond description.

Such is the destiny of great lovers!


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