My grandparents have been married for over 60 years. My parents (had they stayed together) would’ve been married for over 30. My best friend’s parents have been married for over 40 years. What was the secret ingredient in their marriages that helped them last for so long?
As I am nearing the end of my 20’s and excelling into my 30’s, my biggest question is whether or not I will get married. Not because I don’t think I deserve it, but because the institution of marriage has lost it’s luster over the years. I have been in and seen/read/heard countless debates on why people don’t believe that marriage is important anymore. That it’s just a “piece of paper that causes more trouble than it’s worth”. (emoji-eyes looking up). If that was indeed the truth, then why did our grandparents do it? Our parents? Our aunts and uncles? What happened to love and committment that made people deem marriage unnecessary?
Our grandparents LOVED one another. Now- by no means am I saying that their husbands didn’t cheat on them, have children outside of their marriage, or worse maybe even disrespected them a time or two. And by no means am I condoning the behavior. BUT, despite that, they wives didn’t walk away, and the husbands busted their asses to ensure that transgressions weren’t repeated (hopefully). My grandfather cheated on my grandmother. But he’s also the same man who bends over backwards for her; the same man who is up at night with her when she can’t remember whose house she’s in and why everything doesn’t look like it did in Haiti; the same man who cooks for her (he learned how to cook just to care for my nana); who takes her to every doctors appointment and sits in the house with her on the days that she can’t get out of bed. Yes- he cheated. But that didn’t diminish the LOVE that he had for her. An associate of mine’s parents has been together for over 45 years. Neither one has cheated. His father puts his mother above everything- even their children. My point? That’s what true love in a marriage is.
The dictionary definition of love is an intense feeling of affection, or a deep romantic or sexual attraction to someone. This worldly definition is why some marriages don’t last- because those feelings WILL fade. It’s inevitable; people fall in and out of love throughout the years. But the biblical definition of love is kindness, gentleness, patience, purity, humbleness, never judging, never-failing… The couples who believe in this definition of love make it through any storm. It’s amazing that a simple switch in the definition of a small 4 letter word will determine whether or not your marriage will last. Because in this way of viewing it, love is not a feeling, it’s a way of being. Being love to someone is far more paramount than feeling love for someone.
I know that I am the pot calling the kettle black, but I cannot be in a relationship with someone who will run and cheat or leave when things get bad. And that’s what my generation does. Either call it quits or find comfort in the bed of someone else. I am not looking for that for myself. When I get married (because I know that someone will eventually put up with all of my beautiful craziness), I want to know that he won’t leave when I’m jumping on his very last nerve, or when I gain a few extra pounds in all the wrong places, or when I start making more money than he is. I want to know that no matter what, we have that old-school “I’m-not-leaving-you-no-matther-what-happens-because-I-love-your-funky-sweaty-don’t-ever-want-to-shave-in-the-summer-but-wanna-be-cute-in-a-bikini-drools-on-my-chest-when-you’re-sleeping-stop-eating-off-of-my-plate-with-your-big-headed-ass” love(emoji smiling face). I have the love to give to someone, and I have the committment. I just want someone who’s going to love me like God loves me to come knocking on my door.
*Side Bar* I think that in today’s generation, people expect the relationship to always be “perfect”. That times aren’t going to get bad, that your spouse isn’t going to get on your nerves, and that the love won’t come and go. That’s unrealistic. Things happen, people change, life throws curveballs at you. But the true test of your love for someone is CHOOSING to love them despite all of this. That’s the difference between old school love and new school love. I want someone to choose to love me, no matter what. Because once we get married, you’re stuck anyways so you kind of don’t have a choice in the matter…
Husband, where art thou?