Sunday, October 7, 2007

She said. He said. I do.

The bride wore white. A long sheath of satin, the bodice studded with delicate pearls, a row of satin buttons sliding down her back to pick up the train that earlier in the day had swept regally behind her as she sailed down the aisle on arms of her mother and father towards her destiny standing at the altar. Her long blond hair was pinned up, curls cascaded down her back brushing along her bare shoulders and the three strands of pearls that circled her neck. She was beautiful. And this was her night to be the centre of attention.

My friend Dave and I watched the party swirl around us, family and friends gathered to celebrate the union of these two young people. We were friends of the bride's mother.

They looked so young. So fresh. So full of promise.

As we drove home Dave asked, "So, do you think they'll make it?"

How long is making it in a marriage today? Mine lasted ten years. Dave's lasted 20. At some point in time, we both thought we had made it. And then the marriages that we thought we had made turned into something we hadn't planned on making.

Is youth for or against this young couple who walked with such joy down the aisle today? Is time on their side? Will the strength of their love today carry them through the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of tomorrow?

Who can see the future?

Sailing into this marriage, they bring with them their happiness, and their pasts. Can they turn their love for each other into a love that binds them forever more? All they can do is the best they can do today. French essayist and biologist, Andre Maurois, suggests that to have a successful marriage you must ensure your marriage is, "rebuilt every day."

I wanted to find an appropriate quote on marriage. Something to soothe my jaded senses over the efficacy of wedded bliss. Unfortunately, when I went looking, I came upon more anti-marriage quotes than pro. That saddened me. And yet, it also inspired me. Pundits and philosophers have so little good to say about marriage and yet, we keep entering into the fray. What a testament to the human spirit to be in union with another.

Why do we keep doing it against apparently daunting odds?

Seems, the reason we keep getting married is because married people are happier than singles. And, they're happier than those who co-habit. (Stack, Steven and J. Ross Eshleman (1998). Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study. Journal of Marriage and the Family 60(2): 527-536.

No matter the outcome, marriage makes for happier people. Perhaps it's time I quit looking at my marriage as a failure and put it into the perspective of my happiness today. When I was married, my unhappiness had nothing to do with my spouse, and everything to do with me. I was searching for something he never could give me. I was seeking my completeness.

In having had the experience of marriage, in having given birth to two amazingly incredible daughters, I created the pathway to finding my happiness within me. My former husband could never do that, because, like me, he too was searching for something I couldn't give him. I didn't hold the holy grail to the answers to what ails him. He thought I did. So did I for awhile.

Truth is, we were two individuals using the bonds of marriage to create a bond that didn't withstand the test of time. Didn't make us failures. It also means, the marriage wasn't the cause of our unhappiness. We were.

Yesterday, I witnessed a young couple commit to the vow to love eachother for better for worse, in sickness and in health, for the rest of their lives. Forever is a long long time, and they were willing to make that commitment.

Good on them! Gotta love their faith, their spirit and their willingness to publicly commit to loving one another in a time when forever love is deemed a remote possibility.

The question is: How committed are you to doing what it takes to find happiness in your life today? With or without marriage, are you committed to experiencing happiness within you?

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