I’m still a matrimonial novice—just celebrated four years!—but I do know that marriage takes work. Any married person will attest to this. It’s not always lovey-dovey fun and games, and bills, jobs, emergencies, children, and life make stuff get real—really real. How that realness works out, however, largely depends on who you marry, in my humble opinion.
I just happened to marry my best friend, and he still manages to surprise me with his ideas, creativity, and silliness. “You’re really weird” is one of my daily remarks to him. But he also gets on my doggone nerves sometimes—love you, babe! *MUAH*—and we both have to find ways to let off steam. Again, any married person can attest to this realness.
I think life’s realness also works out in a marriage depending on the “character” of the two people in it. For instance, my hubby and I are two creative, silly people, so our interactions (on a good day) are characterized by creativity and silliness. It’s why a Handshake of Trust can crop up in an otherwise ordinary conversation and why my hubby laughs at me Every. Single. Day. And I have friends whose relationships have completely different characteristics. The commonality is commitment, though.
As my girl Quisha and I were just discussing recently, so many people get married because they’re in love—I know I was head-over-heels when I got hitched. We’re not that old, still twenty-something, but we know that too many marriages have been done in by the myth that “love will keep us together.” After tossing around the idea, Quisha and I came to the conclusion that some of this disillusionment can be avoided with a reality check: a beautiful wedding has no bearing on the marriage, marriage is not easy, and love alone will not make it work. Commitment is the glue that keeps it together.
What does commitment look like? Well, I’d love to get my J. grandparents’ perspective on this. They just celebrated sixty-four years of marriage—a lifetime!—so I’m sure they can preach on this. (Note to self: ask Grammy and Granddad about this.) From my measly four years, I can say it looks like remaining a team in the midst of financial disagreements, illness, emotional strain, journeys to self-discovery and job uncertainty, along with date nights, dinner at home, impromptu dance sessions and silly little moments involving silly little handshakes.
I won’t even presume to know all the reasons some people’s marriages end. Sometimes it has to be done; sometimes it doesn’t. As a novice, I have more faith than experience: faith that commitment is the glue that will keep mine together. Matrimonial veterans, whatcha got for us babies?
With that, I’ll close with a song I’ve been playing a lot lately, Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of “Wait Till You See Her,” because the hubby has inspired it in my mind these past few days:
Wait till you see him, see how he looks. Wait till you hear him laugh. Painters of paintings, writers of books never could tell the half. Wait till you feel the warmth of his glance, pensive and sweet and wise: all of it lovely, all of it thrilling. I’ll never be willing to free him. When you see him, you won’t believe your eyes. You won’t believe your eyes.