Why are people so down on marriage?
I got an email from a concerned young woman who was anticipating engagement and looking forward to marriage. But in the midst of her excitement and anticipation there was a twinge of fear and anxiety. It seemed that everywhere she looked, people were down on marriage.
She was concerned that all the blogs, books, and articles she had read concluded with the same message: That marriage is hard. Was it even worth it, she wondered?
If I’m honest, I’m partially to blame when it comes to this trend. I’m an advocate of the fact that every young person should have a healthy awareness and understanding of the realities and difficulties of what marriage entails. In fact, I even wrote an article for Relevant Magazine asking and answering that very question: Does marriage have to be hard?
There’s no denying that everywhere you look for solid marriage advice and encouragement will likely enlighten you to the truth that yes, marriage is a struggle, and yes, marriage is hard. But what if we have focused so much on sharing the struggles, that we have neglected to marvel in the joys?
What if we have talked too much about what marriage won’t be, without remembering the blessings of what it actually is.
For singles, it’s a joy to anticipate. For the engaged, the joy you’ll be experiencing any moment. For the married, a reminder of the joys you have right before your eyes.
1. The joy of oneness: There is nothing on earth more miraculous than when two become one. Nothing leaves you feeling more intoxicated than the union of body, heart, and spirit within the act of marriage. Far more intimate than the joy of physical sex, in marriage, your entire world becomes interconnected with that of another. His hopes become your hopes. Her dreams become your dreams.
Within this oneness, there is a unique intimacy that is experienced no where else in this world. It is an opportunity to be genuinely you, to expose the deepest parts of who you and be loved in return. It’s a sacred, beautiful, meaningful commingling of two lives into one. Nothing else can rival it, and nothing else should.
2. The joy of companionship: One of my favorite joys in marriage is the joy of companionship. I learned to appreciate my time alone as a single woman, which allowed me to savor the companionship I experienced in marriage all the more. In marriage, there is always someone to join you on your journey. Whether a walk to the park or a move across the country, you are in it together, for the long haul, walking side by side.
My joys have been heightened and my sorrows have been muffled in the embrace of my marriage. We support each other, comfort one another, and come alongside each other in the big and small of life. We laugh together, listen to each other, and pray with one another. There seems to be strength in numbers because two are stronger than just one. Through the companionship of marriage we have the opportunity for strength in the spiritual, emotional, and physical.
3. The joy of love: The most beautiful joy of marriage, is the experience of deep, deep love. There is no earthly love that can cut to the depth of who you are like the love experienced within the constructs of marriage. Jesus himself used this sacred union as a reminder of his ferocious love for us. It’s a place to be loved fully, to be loved completely, to be loved sacrificially. It’s a reminder of the unconditional love of God played out within the confines of humanity.
Within marital love, you are offered the opportunity to glimpse the heart of Jesus here and now. You are given the chance to love and be loved in a way that challenges you to uncover the greatest parts of who you are, of who you were made to be. You are asked to love like Jesus. Nothing is more challenging, but nothing is more gratifying.
Though it’s important to be realistic about the challenges that marriage entails, those challenges can never outshine the joys.
Marriage is a momentary gift that serves as a reminder of eternal pleasures. It’s a priceless experience that we are invited to take part in that will change our hearts, challenge our spirits, and enrich our lives.
Marriage rocks. May we forever be mindful of that.
*Post edited and updated from 2013.*
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!