Marriage Isn’t For You

As someone who is getting married soon, this post struck a chord with me. Also, as someone who is getting married soon, I have very little time for my own original posts, so here’s a repost from Seth Adam Smith and his blog. Original post can be found here. 

Marriage Isn’t For You

By Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raisethem? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

SKwedding394

Marriage is about family.

I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

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2 thoughts on “Marriage Isn’t For You

  1. I was going to comment on your link to this on Facebook, but then I decided I’d comment here instead. 🙂

    At least 6 or 7 of my friends have posted this article on Facebook already. The first time I read it, I didn’t quite like it… something about it rubbed me the wrong way, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. After thinking about it for a day (and also discussing this with TJ to see if he felt the same way as I did), I found a bit more clarity as to why it didn’t sit well with me. The clarity may not translate well into words– I apologize in advance for the ramble that may follow. 🙂

    While I agree that marriage isn’t (and shouldn’t) all about you, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it must then be all about the person you marry. Of course it’s selfish to say that “marriage is all about ME,” but to then run to the opposite end of the spectrum and say “marriage is all about YOU,” sounds an awful lot like raising your spouse up and making them into an idol. Marriage isn’t meant to be centered on me *or* on my spouse– it’s centered on Christ. I feel like the author totally missed that.

    I also didn’t like his emphasis on marrying “for” the other person– or, as he said, “marry to make your spouse happy.” No, you marry someone so that you can grow in Christ together, serve Christ together, and push each other to become more like Him. He said “Love is about the person you love”– no…. Love is centered in Jesus, and true love may not always make your spouse “happy”– sometimes love is shown from one spouse to another through loving rebuke when the other is in sin, for instance.

    Also, one other thing… When I first told TJ about the article and asked him to read it, I told him I thought it was so weird that if the guy was a Christian, why wasn’t there wasn’t a single mention of God/Jesus/Christianity? TJ read it, and then said, “You do realize he never said he was a Christian… right? Have you read any other posts? Do you know whether or not he’s actually a Christian?” I did look around and then saw that the blogger is actually Mormon…. but I felt super silly for just assuming that he was writing from a Christian perspective, simply because the article had a somewhat Christian feel to it. I imagine that most (if not all) of my Facebook friends who posted this article also assumed that the author was a Christian, and so they automatically took his words as wisdom. This whole experience for me was a reminder to carefully consider what I read, and to be discerning of people’s words– even if they “sound” Christian. 🙂

    I hope all of that made sense! I just had to get that all out– I’ve been too hesitant to say anything to any of my friends up until now. I just couldn’t take it anymore. 😉

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  2. Pingback: Marriage isn’t for me | I'm a pilgrim

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