Today my wife and I celebrate 10 years of marriage. 9 lovely years of marriage… Hmm, who am I kidding? Let’s go with 8 ½ years of happy marriage. That’s more like it. Like many people, I thought marriage would be pretty easy stuff. You marry the person you’re in love with and then live happily ever after. Things don’t change much. You’re still the same person, but with another person hanging around. All that matters is at the end of the day you come home and sleep in the same bed. That was what I thought the key to a good marriage was. Of course I knew that it was a hugely important decision that I was making. My puking 4 times on the way to the church proves that. So on October 13, 2001, I stood before my friends, family, and God and said the words, “I do.”
It was quickly pointed out to me that my ideas of marriage were a little off. One thing that I learned is that you have to make phone calls. For instance deciding to go out drinking after work with friends without telling your wife is a not a good idea. Or staying out until midnight drinking isn’t a good decision either. Oh, and spending a lot of money on beer and liquor without discussing it with your spouse isn’t the best way to spend your time at the grocery store. Yeah, I drank a lot back then. I could go on and on about the various mistakes I made then, but I’ll stop now. Instead, I’ll start writing about the mistakes my wife made. If you think I am going to do that, you’re nuts. Another thing I learned is don’t go around sharing your wife’s issues.
Things back then were tough. Our home wasn’t the house of love that I envisioned it to be. Instead it was one of awkward silence and tension. One day I thought about my grandparents and how after 60 years they still held hands. I was a newlywed and didn’t do that. Something had to change. It wasn’t easy and slowly we began to build a home where love was found. Then we moved to NYC and forgot the love in Columbus, Ohio. Things became difficult again and our schedules became crazy. Cara had started law school and I started my mission to find every job in the world that I could hate. My dream was to become an actor, not sitting behind a desk pushing papers all day or selling clothes. Our home once again became a home of casual conversations and living together separately.
Now you want me to get to the point and tell you how it all changed, I’m sure. And the answer is, I’m not that sure. It has been a process and continues to be. Divorce wasn’t an option and I was willing to live unhappily ever after. Going to church was a huge step toward our marriage getting better. Many of my friends that are Atheists have very happy marriages and if they want to write a blog about Atheism and their marriage, that would be great. But I don’t think that my wife and I could have been saved from an unhealthy marriage without Divine influence.
My wife is a PK and in the Christian world that means “Preacher’s kid.” She was brought up that on Sundays you are in church. Also she believed that you should not just be in the church, but you have to be IN the church. Which means not just sitting and listening to the message, but also being actively involved. That wasn’t for me at the time. I was more interested in getting home before the start of the football game. Insert new conflict here.
One evening I was thinking to myself, because I find myself interesting. I was thinking about Jesus and the concept that all Christians are to believe that husbands are supposed to treat their wives the way Christ loves the church. Look it up in Ephesians 5:25. Before, I thought that meant a husband should take a bullet for his wife if someone shoots at her, after all Christ sacrificed his life so that’s what we’re supposed to do. As I thought about, it I thought more about the life that Jesus led up until he died. His love for the church didn’t just cause Him to sacrifice his life, but He lived for the church. Every day of his life was a sacrifice for the church. He could have had a comfy life sitting on some clouds and listening to angels sing all day, but He chose to live a humble life for His people. He chose to sacrifice everything He had. He chose to sacrifice his comfort. He chose to sacrifice his station in life. He could have had it easy, but that wasn’t the road he took. He loved his church so much, that he gave it all. Not just his life, but he gave up himself totally. I was not doing that. Also in that chapter in Ephesians it discusses that wives are supposed to submit to their husbands, but when talking to husbands of how to love their wives, it doesn’t use the word “if,” as in “love your wife if she submits.” Husbands are told to love. I realized that if we we’re going to be happy, I had to make some changes. Those changes were stop looking inward and begin looking outward. Also, I can’t control the world around me, but I can control how I respond to it.
And so now I’m the perfect husband and I never do anything wrong. If only that were true. There are moments when I slip up and behave like that guy from the first year and not the tenth year. Fortunately, I’ve got a wife that has loved me despite all my faults and has a bottomless pit of forgiveness. She is much more Christlike than I am. Thankfully divorce never came up. We rode through the rocky moments and have come out the better. 10 years and 2 kids with a third on the way… those are good numbers.
I’m not sure how long ever after is. I suppose it means forever. I’m pretty positive that we’ll be living it happily.