At the time of this post, I’ve been married 16.5 years to the day. In the eyes of society, that duration is quite significant. Some people may even point to marriages like mine and call them a success. I can’t say I disagree; I just have a different point of view. In my opinion, a successful marriage is not measured by a calendar… it’s measured by moments.
The moments I’m referring to are sometimes best described as challenges; such as disagreement, anger, sadness… and although you might find it strange when describing a marriage… loneliness. But wait, it sounded like we were going to discuss what society views as a successful marriage? These things aren’t part of a success marriage… are they? Unfortunately, they absolutely are.
Don’t misunderstand, my marriage… as I’m sure many are… is full of joyous moments as well. And I don’t mind saying the joyous moments are far more frequent than the challenging moments. The point is, my marriage doesn’t become stronger through happy times… it becomes stronger through successfully overcoming the challenging times.
I’ve heard people say “a marriage is a relationship”. That seems like a straight forward assessment, and few people would see any value in arguing such a simple point. I don’t either… but I will say the statement is grossly over simplified.
A relationship is any connection or association. There is no requisite for emotion or love in order to have a relationship. For example: I’m in a relationship where I offer knowledge, time, resources and yes… sometimes even love. I’m in another relationship where I always offer love, provision, comfort and shelter. In the first relationship, I receive money and benefits for what I put into it (It’s my job). In the second relationship, I receive what can only be described as true unconditional love (It’s my dog). The point is, a relationship is any connection or association period… it doesn’t even have to be with a person.
I realize I have an obscure thought process… and I tend to over analyze at times… but marriage is definitely something more than a relationship. It has more substance, more intensity, more quality.
I love chocolate cake… (like I said – an obscure thought process)… but not all chocolate cake is good. I remember getting these little processed chocolate cake food products in elementary school. They looked like little square hockey pucks and didn’t even taste like chocolate. On the other hand, I also remember going to a little store in the southern part of town called Gerry Frank’s Konditorei. This was the Disney World of Cakes… and they had 20 different kinds of chocolate cake on any given day. Every single one was carefully crafted and delectably abounding in real sugar, butter and cream. There were never any shortcuts or substitutes, only quality ingredients and a passion for making great cakes. In reality I could never adequately describe how rich their cakes are… and marriage is like that to me. Anyone can grab a box of Betty Crocker off the shelf… but the quality and richness will never compare to what they do at The Konditorei.
It’s true “marriage is a relationship”, but there is a richness in marriage that does not exist in any other kind of relationship. A richness that is refined and preserved through a commitment to each other. (Personally, I prefer the term “covenant” with each other… but that’s another blog.)
Yep – 16.5 years to the day. Do we have a successful marriage? Society might say so… but I honestly don’t care what society thinks. What I do care about is that it continues to be a wonderfully Rich Relationship… centered on God and fortified with many successful moments.
Jerod and Leesa; who are dear friends of ours, are getting married next month. My prayer for them is that they develop a Rich Relationship as well… delectably abounding in sugar, butter and cream. Oops, I mean successfully overcoming in good times and in bad.
By the way – In case you haven’t picked out the cake yet… I would go with chocolate.