Just the word “marriage” conjures up all kinds of emotions, doesn’t it?
I bet right now, you’re thinking about your parents or maybe your grandparents or maybe yourself. You picture what it would look like to be partnered with your significant other for the rest of your life. Maybe you’re imagining yourself with a future spouse you haven’t even met yet.
Or, you could just have easily gone straight to thinking about divorce. Whether it was you going through divorce yourself, or you watching it happen to your parents, you know how hard it is. It’s the kind of thing most people would do anything to avoid.
“They [different church denominations] all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation. Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases…What they all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another, or when either of them falls in love with someone else.” – C. S. Lewis
The first time I read that quote was about four months ago. I had picked up a copy of Mere Christianity at Barnes & Noble and it changed the way I looked at my life and my marriage.
There’s a link at the top of the blog to the story of how Daniel and I first met. It’s a little silly and a lot sweet and I enjoy telling people about it. We’ve been married now for just over two years. Across that span of time we’ve grown together, pruning our relationship by trimming away the harmful, old things and making way for the good and new. I honestly feel that when we’re apart from one another, I’m missing a piece of myself. It’s a bit like having one arm tied behind my back, I just don’t function as well.
Needless to say, things aren’t always so perfect. Some people assume that because we’re young, and we haven’t been together for decades, that we have it easy. That we’re still in the “honeymoon phase.” These people are more than a little bit wrong, and you know what they say about assuming things.
Even though we’re not always happy, it doesn’t mean we’ve made a mistake. If you ever find that you and your spouse are in the same boat, don’t fret. After our first big, married fight I kind of fell off the deep end. I wondered if we’d made a terrible mistake, if we should have waited longer to get married, or if we were ever going to be happy again. Just hours later, everything was back to normal, if not even better. We kissed, we made up, we moved on.
“Love as distinct from ‘being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other.” – C. S. Lewis
As I read further into Mere Christianity I began to feel a little uncomfortable. Was he really trying to tell me that I wouldn’t always be in love with my husband? This worried me. But the longer I thought about it, the more I understood what he was getting at. Being “in love” with someone is different than Love itself. Being “in love” is just a feeling but real, true, committed, marital Love is a choice and that makes it all the more beautiful.
“‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.” – C. S. Lewis
I love you, Daniel. I’ll always choose you.