This month, Eric and I will have been married six months. What the whaaaaat? I have no idea how that happened. Well, actually I do but I just can’t believe it has been six months. But then I also can’t believe we haven’t been married forever.
Wait…once I used to not know he existed? It’s true. I have to remind myself of that.
Today I was thinking, as I sometimes do, and chatting with a friend, as I also sometimes do, about marriage and this Eat Pray Love syndrome that seems to be consuming our society (or possibly Generation Y??). I just coined the term Eat Pray Love syndrome so let me explain:
You know the book/movie, Eat Pray Love? It really troubles me.
And by that I mean it gets my blood boiling. I know its “the thing” to seek out one’s happiness like it is the most important thing on earth, but that is not what marriage is, and the illogical-ness of it gets me every time.
Don’t get me wrong. Happiness is great and it should be pursued…but not to the extent that your own happiness is more important than the happiness of others.
Marriage is far from a perfect endeavor. Namely, because two selfish people are trying to become one. It’s not easy. Marriage is a magnifying glass for all the not-so-great-things you try to hide from yourself, and others. It can be frightening at times.
But whatever happened to the idea that working toward selflessness is a good thing? And that self-sacrifice is a noble state of being?
I don’t like the whole Eat Pray Love idea that you deserve the best–that you are entitled to it. “The best” is ideal, sure, I guess. But what the heck is “the best” and will anyone in such a state of mind EVER find it? And the ironic thing about it is that this so-called perfect relationship usually just means a selfish girl is looking for someone utterly un-selfish to treat her like she is perfect.
That’s not what we humans need: someone to tell us we are perfect. It’s nice over candle-light, sure. But life is usually a little more perplexing than a walk on the beach.
I know in this day and age, we really don’t like dealing with consequences, and we don’t like working for things. We are not taught the value of working through a tough marriage even when things are bad. You know, the whole sickness and in health thing.
Sometimes I get caught up in the trend of wondering if I am in the best possible place at work. Is it “me”? Am I truly happy with my job? Am I just doing it because it is safe? Should I be taking more risks? Is there something out there better for me? I do that in a lot of areas in my life.
I wonder if there is something better.
And it is exhausting if carried on for more than a few minutes.
But I don’t do that in my marriage. And I never will. It is a very comforting thought to me that divorce is not an option for Eric and I. I am not comforted because I think marriage will always be bliss and happiness, because I know that won’t always be the case–but because I know we will be enduring trials together–without worrying about the worst.
I know that people get divorces for really good reasons. And that is not what I am talking about.
But I am wondering if the people who leave their spouses just to see what else is out there…if they are really missing out on all the goodness. If maybe the secret they are looking for is simply valuing marriage for marriage’s sake, and resolving to make it work. Hard work typically pays off.
My mind is free from marriage stress because Eric and I made a vow before God. It binds us, but it is so liberating. It is liberating knowing I don’t have to worry about whether or not this marriage is “right” for me. The rightness is in the promise. I can relax and do the hard work, if that makes sense, because I know I am working for something that is not all about me. Because after all, selfishness is exhausting.
(pictures from our honeymoon-Charleston, South Carolina)