Let’s talk about love. Do you believe in the idea of a soul mate? This week, talk about your experience with love and discuss what you believe, and also be sure to touch on what helped shape those beliefs.
Aw, a prompt about love. Nuzzle up to it. Let it kiss your face.
Then step back into reality. Because, seriously, reality is much harder than the kisses on the movie screen. Seriously, why is life so much harder than that?
Unlike what [most] movies profess, I don’t believe in soul mates. I believe you choose your mate and that is your choice for life. No matter the ups and downs (my God, I’m saying this to myself right now), no matter the ups and downs, he is your choice for the rest of your life.
Obviously, I’m not talking about any sort of abuse that happens. That is always a reason to leave. You have to, for the safety of your life (and your children if you have them). I’m telling you right now, please leave if there is abuse. No one will give you flack for that. And if they do, give them my number.
But, marriage. It’s hard as crap.
I remember people yelling “Don’t do it!” when my husband and I got married. How dumb and stupid I remember thinking. But I realize that in our society, in our time, marriage is hard to accept for life for most of the population. They’re telling me not to do it because in their personal experience, it was horrible. It was hard. It wasn’t what they thought it would be. And I see what they mean now.
It is hard as heck. It isn’t what I thought it would be.
But it does something you. It changes you. It changes you in ways that you never knew possible. You look back at 5, 10, 15, 25 years later and you say “Damn, I didn’t know I could be who I am today. I am a totally different person.”
You are different.
You are selfless.
You are generous.
You are strong.
You accept grace in crevices that you didn’t know existed.
And you are better for that.
You are transformed by a union that the world tells you is too hard to even try.
But screw the world. Be transformed by something that everyone else is afraid of. Let that transformation envelop you and make you whole.
Because marriage isn’t around to make you happy. It’s not, I hate to tell you. It’s not, I hate to tell the guy yelling at the newlyweds “Run away, now!” Your spouse is not there to make you happy.
My husband is here to make me whole. To make me better. To make me see the parts of me that were allowed to be selfish and bring those to the surface to die. He is here to make me put another person’s needs before my own. And, really, what are humans if not that — constantly striving to make life better for another.
I do not exist to make my husband happy. I exist to make him wholly who he was made to be.
My friend Erika re-posted this on her Facebook from Cup of Jo the other day, and I thought it was not only a beautiful description of the “happiness” issue of life, but is so incredible relatable to marriage as well ::
“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”
—Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life
*drops the mic*