Twelve years ago today, I stood before God and men alike and vowed to love, cherish, protect support, comfort, and provide for, the one whom God gave me as a suitable mate.
Sometimes it still seems fantastical that twelve years have passed since I said, ‘I do,’ but here we are, and yes, by all accounts it has been a dozen years.
No, it hasn’t always been easy – and anyone who tells you marriage is the next best thing to perpetual bliss is a liar and has never been married – but we make it work because the foundation of our relationship is love.
The art of keeping a marriage intact is no mystery, and I am in awe of the fact that although I published an article entitled ‘10 steps to a successful marriage’ two years ago on my tenth anniversary, it is still one of the most often read articles on this weblog.
Personally, I believe it all boils down to three things, and if we can master these three things, whether we are a husband or a wife, we will beat the odds and have a successful marriage.
First, of course, is love. Yes, that often overused, borderline cliché, perpetually misunderstood, and often derided concept – love.
Admittedly, as a man I’m still trying to wrap my head around the ‘I love you, but I’m not in live with you’ paradigm, because to us it’s either we love you or we don’t, but as long as love is the foundation upon which you build a marriage, even the hard times won’t seem so hard.
Second on the list, is selflessness. Yes, selflessness is a two way street, and must be reciprocal for a marriage to be successful. When we put the need of our spouse before our own, and they do likewise, we learn to appreciate, and grow, and find common ground, no matter the situation.
Third, on the list of what it takes to have a successful marriage, is the often painful but consistently rewarding art of compromise.
Whether you are a husband or a wife, eventually, at a certain point in your relationship, likely sooner rather than later, you will have to compromise!
For me, the first compromise was an old, and beat up easy chair that was more duct tape than leather, but which I loved to write in.
I’d had this chair for so long that it had conformed to my body, like a pair of well-worn gloves, or a favorite old t-shirt.
It was perhaps three months into our marriage, when my wife finally said ‘I think the chair has to go. It’s ugly, and it smells funny.’
Of course, I knew she was right. The chair was ugly, it was old, and due to a stint on a transatlantic container where it got wet for some reason, it did smell funny.
Instead of hemming and hawing, I acquiesced to removing the chair, thinking to myself that if lace doilies ever magically appeared in our home, I’d have one in the chamber, as the saying goes.
It wasn’t lace doilies. As it turns out, it was a hideous painting of a would-be pitcher with some flowers in it, that looked more like someone threw up on a canvas than what one would customarily call art, but when it came to it, she compromised just as readily as I had.
I guess when we hit fifty years together, I’ll really have something to brag about.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.