As much as we hope for a perfect, blissfully happy marriage, nothing is for sure without placing our faith in it.
Do you ever have that moment where you look at your husband and think, “Who would’ve thought?” – when we reflect back on how the relationship started and ponder how far we’ve both come, and how on that very first date, there was no way of knowing where the relationship would take us.
Relationships move through phases, oftentimes without our conscious knowledge. We don’t always know that our relationship with someone has entered a new phase until we recognize that something feels “different” from how it did last month, or last year.
We start off in a phase that boasts all new possibilities – everything about this person is yet to be discovered, and the feeling is invigorating. Then, before we know it, we feel more comfortable with him than we do jittery – we’re somewhat used to having him around. We then enter a new phase, when we might realize that this is our longest relationship, or we’re more deeply in love with him than we thought possible, or that we’ve never felt so at home in someone’s arms.
Even having passed through these phases, despite knowing this person on such an intimate level, we’ll always need to act based on faith rather than fact in our relationship. And marriage, the symbol of full and total commitment, is actually no different.
People Still Change, No Matter How Long You’ve Known Them
The one thing about people that will never change is that they always change. What I mean is, just because we know or knew someone at one point doesn’t mean we’ll truly know them forever. The image we carry of people we knew once upon a time is incredibly outdated, and the people we’ve kept in our lives for extended periods have changed, too – it’s just harder to tell because we’re closer to them.
The person we marry on our wedding day won’t be the same person on our five-year anniversary.
If there’s one thing marriage does, it forces us to grow up and change. The person we marry on our wedding day won’t be the same person on our five-year anniversary, and that’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that by marrying them, we’re agreeing to be committed to the person they’ll become one day, a person we don’t totally know yet.
Marriage Will Trigger New Dynamics
The unspoken truth of every relationship before marriage is that it could end tomorrow, and no one would have to do any paperwork or go to the DMV in order to walk out. But marriage changes that reality – obviously, people still divorce, but it’s far more serious and tedious to get a divorce than it is to break up with a boyfriend. There’s a lot more to ending a marriage than emptying out our drawer, finding a new apartment, and deleting his number from our phone.
Because we understand that, ideally, marriage is a commitment that’s supposed to last, it dramatically and automatically shifts the dynamics of our relationship. Getting married means our spouse’s bothersome isms and harmful habits become ours to confront everyday – we can’t walk away easily anymore. The permanence of marriage, and the inevitable shift in a relationship it triggers, makes it that much more challenging and dependent on our faith in the other person, but also that much more rewarding.
The different phases of life bring out different qualities in ourselves and our spouse.
The addition of children will also trigger a new dynamic. Now you’re parents, and it’s not just the two of you and your plans that are your central focus anymore. There’s a new, tiny, dependent human who becomes the center of your world and all your energy. As new parents, you become more dependent on each other, and you also get to see a new side of your spouse. And you will fall more in love with them for how they tenderly care for your baby or how they go the extra mile to help around the house or let you sleep in.
Our Faith in Our Marriage Will Determine Its Success
I used to take singing lessons, which eventually involved singing in front of other people. But I had an intense fear of making a single mistake as I sang: my voice cracking, forgetting the words, being off-key. This led me to refuse to sing in front of anyone ever, unless forced to. Every time I did have to perform, I’d mess up. My voice teacher, wise as she was, told me my fear of failure was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d approach every performance totally convinced I’d make a fool of myself, and so, I always failed to do my best.
If we see our marriage as a plane that’s destined to crash, in all likelihood, it will.
The same can be said of our approach to marriage. If we see our marriage as a plane that’s destined to crash, in all likelihood, it will – not because of fate, but because of ourselves.
Remember, marriage and divorce aren't a lottery. Not all marriages have the same chances of survival. Couples who take the time to choose a good partner, grow together, and maintain their connection over time are much more likely to see their marriage last in the long run.
When we approach marriage with very little faith in its ability, any chance it had to thrive will shrink because we won’t be doing anything to invest in it. A marriage is made up of two imperfect people making the choice to grow together and invest themselves fully by faith, not fact. By choosing to believe a marriage will last forever, there’s a better chance of that becoming a reality.
Marriage, despite its weight, is still taking a leap of faith. It’s still taking a chance on the other person, and hoping they meant their vows as much as we did. It’s uncomfortable to recognize that nothing in life is guaranteed, but it’s also empowering to acknowledge that our choices matter. What we choose to invest in will affect the outcome of our life. If marriage is something we’re both fully committed to, it will be a leap of faith worth taking.
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