As a vendor in the wedding industry, my mind is constantly swirling around the topic of all things weddings. I find myself intrigued by all the different components that tie in together to make up just one of these beautiful and magical events and I am in awe of the sheer talent of some of the vendors in this industry: photographers, florists, bakers, caterers, and many more. I can say with confidence that weddings are a passion. As I continue down this career path, however, I am reminded with more and more frequency that weddings are not the destination; they are merely a significant point along the greater journey of this thing called: marriage.
As a recent bride making her way out of the honeymoon stage and settling into the daily life of a married couple I ask....what now? In this industry we are constantly inundated with beautiful images of weddings. We see these images on social media, in blogs, in magazines, and well pretty much everywhere. This is the reality in which we live. In addition, our days are spent meeting with clients and vendors who also have weddings on the brain (I would like to add here that few things seem as pure to me as the momentum of excitement that builds as a couple heads toward their nuptials) and it can be easy to forget with all of these wonderful and exciting things happening that there is a greater cause. The cause of marriage. I use the word cause intentionally here as one definition states that a cause is: a principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate.
I would like to argue that this could also be a definition of marriage: a principle that we are willing to defend due to a deep commitment, not to ourselves, but to another person. The truth of the matter is, however, that marriage is not easy, as no cause worth fighting for ever is. There will be seasons of smooth sailing and seasons of rough waters but if anything in life deserves a fight out of us, our marriage should be at the top of the list. Marriage is one of the most beautiful ways in which we learn of the true nature of ourselves, and one of the few circumstances where we get to practice putting another person first. I am not gifted at this by nature. I have to work at it and so does he, but in that there is a beauty that comes out of failure, upset, and then restoration. You also are privileged to witness the person you are working towards loving better, working towards loving you better as well. Love is not always a feeling. Sometimes it is a choice involving decided action.
It can be easy to downplay the significance of marriage on our lives as a whole, but they are one of the most vital tools to effect positive change in our society at large. Dave Ramsey is a financial adviser and as I was listening to the radio yesterday, I heard him speak on the importance of marriage. He said that studies have been conducted which highlight the benefits of marriage. These include economic and financial benefits (in addition to physiological and psychological benefits). I would like to add to this list. The familial unit is one of the single most important structures that make up society. Beliefs, values, education, community, civic duty, these are all larger columns of society of which the foundation often is cultivated in the family and of which the family breaks down even further into the marriage.
Marriage is tough, it's beautiful, it's messy, it's restorative, it's exciting, and it's challenging all rolled into one. And as I settle of out the newlywed stage and in to the next chapter of our lives, I am excited for what lies ahead, for growth, and for new ways in which we get to mess up, come together, and make our marriage and partnership more exciting and fulfilling.