Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.
~Henry David Thoreau
It amazes me sometimes how people perceive things differently. One thing that makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily make another happy. One person may seem to have the “happiness” formula”, but when another tries that same formula and it doesn’t work, that person seeking happiness ponders why.
Each person has completely different needs in their lives – different physical, emotional and mental needs. Sometimes it is too late for that person trying everybody else’s “formula” before they find the formula that works for them or realize that the formula was right before their own eyes for true happiness comes from within and your partner is there to help nurture who you are.
Ask several people what marriage means to them and you are bound to get several different answers, but it always comes down to commitment, trust, friendship, love and honesty. Thus the vows in which we exchange. Without commitment in a marriage, I personally don’t believe you can have the rest of it – trust, love, happiness or honesty. “We have not attempted to be in love but rather we have committed ourselves to staying in the love of God with each other. This has made us forgiving of each others failings and ready to yield rather than cause trouble in situations. It has led us to find ourselves more deeply in love with a man-woman love.” Ro.5:5, 1Cor.13:4-8, 2Cor.5:14
In marriage, both partners commit all they have and all who they are. With commitment, hope and love, the couple travels together throughout the years without suffering irreparable cracks in the relationship. They learn the supreme definition of love. But without commitment, cracks appear and either you find the putty to fill in, or you let those cracks grow deeper, making it more and more difficult for dirt and grime to replace the commitment and love that used to be in place of those cracks. Commitment doesn’t end at the wedding ceremony, it has to thrive throughout the entire marriage – during the difficult times and the happy times too. And it isn’t easy.
I look at the marriages around me, including that of my parents, and notice that although they argued and they had their problems, they always had the commitment and the love. During my mom’s blindness, my dad stuck by her side. I can’t say he didn’t complain or gripe or even cry, but he stood there by her and held her hand. For one of her last Mother’s Days he took her to get her hair and makeup done because he knew it would make her feel special. He was committed to his vows.
60% of couples divorce in the 1st year of marriage. And so there goes the theory that the 1st year is the best years of your marriage. The 7th year comes next as being the most difficult (ever hear of the 7th year itch?). So the couples were committed longer at planning their wedding (normally 2 years or more of planning) than they do actually staying married? Pathetic. Instead of learning and growing from the rough times, we give up. It seems to just go along with what society has become; fast food, instant gratification. Although many adjustments have to be made during the 1st year of marriage, the investment in your relationship makes it worthwhile and can even pay off better than expected. Any worthwhile commitment requires continuous maintenance. You cannot assume a good marriage relationship will develop by itself.
When I married, my husband and I received a couple rose bushes as a wedding gift. I didn’t take care of those rose bushes like I should have and after many weeks of neglect, I sat down on the grass to weed. I sat looking over the mess and realized that those special roses were a lot like relationships. If you merely water the roses and do nothing else, you are also watering the weeds, which are merely choking out the beautiful roses. If you weed and not take out the roots of those weeds, the weeds will still grow. I learned from that day of gardening that I needed to stop watering the weeds and start watering only the roses. I needed to pull up the weeds from the roots so they didn’t strangle what you so long to have – a beautiful garden. Those beautiful flowers didn’t take care of themselves, but instead had to be maintained, watered and fertilized. And let me tell you, it isn’t so easy. It takes hard work.
Show your love to your partner and take care of each other. Just as in gardening a relationship must be watered and fertilized by each partner to ensure that weeds do not creep in.