Fourteen years ago, my bride and I stood at the altar of St. James Baptist Church and exchanged vows to love, honor, respect and care for each other, no matter our circumstance. We were instructed that marriage was a sacred thing that should not be entered into lightly, but we should really know the weight of our words. At the wedding, if no one else does, the bride and groom are optimistic. All we knew in that moment was that we loved each other, and that we made each other happy; so we said “I do”. But, just like many other couples before us, and certainly those after us, we really had no idea what we were saying “I do” to.
Getting married means saying you will love, honor, respect, and support the person your spouse will become … whomever that will be. Marriage is a life long commitment, that should have only one guarantee: the person across from me will accept me no matter what.
I do understand that people have limits, and there are deal breakers. When it comes to relationships, I am not an idealist. I don’t necessarily believe in finding “the one” or even in “soul mates”. I am a realist. I believe once you marry you have to contend to keep your spouse “the one”. Being in love is a beautiful thing, but people change. You have to know that the person standing before you at the altar will not be the same person laying beside you 10, 15, 25 years later.
Standing at the altar is an act of faith. In the Christian context, we believe that God will give us the strength not to bail on each other in the worst of circumstances. This is faith because you have no clue, who they will become. Not only that, you have no clue who you will become either. In my marriage, a lot has changed. I have gone through some very difficult and dark times in the past fourteen years, in my own personal developement. There were many times my wife could have understandably left me where I was, but I thank God for the strength and courage He gave her to still say, “I do”.
Saying “I do”, means I will accept you even when you hurt me. Saying “I do” means I will forgive you even when you disappoint me. Saying “I do” means I will trust you when you don’t deserve it. Saying “I do” means I will respect you when you did not earn it. Saying “I do” means I love your smile, just as much as saying “I do” means I will wipe your tears. Saying “I do” means let’s conquer the world, just as much I’ll understand your fears. It won’t always be easy, and it certainly won’t be perfect; but if you always come back to that vow, it will certainly be worth it.
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