A few words on Marriage…

Thinking back to just a few years ago, I remember that my view and thoughts on marriage were very expectant, but also disillusioned. I looked at it through the lens of someone who had seen young married couples breaking apart, or also couples that were engaged breaking apart before even getting to be married. I also had the family experiences. Not directly, as my parents were together from the day they were married until my dad’s passing in 2014, but I did see it in other family members.

I wasn’t without great examples of successful marriages, as I did also see some marriages that began and carried through and still are, even today, stronger than ever. But the slew of marriages I observed seemed to not shape, but certainly skew and distort my view of what marriages should and shouldn’t be. They also influenced me to be determined to, if I ever did get married, to work hard to make it worth all the effort.

I’ve always been one to say that communication is among the most important things in a marriage. As much as I’ve always known and believed that, I came to realize, after getting married of course, that I’m horrible at communication. Sure, I can go deep into a topic of my interest, but when it comes to talking about important, deeper things of the emotional kind, I’m horrible. I tend to keep things to myself and when I’m bothered about something, or I have something on my mind that weighs on me, I tend to just shut in a bit. I don’t really know what prompted me to be that way, but that’s just how I’ve always been.

This, obviously, smacks right into the face of what I have always believed about communication within a marriage. I’ve always believed the idea that once you are married to someone, you aren’t really just two single people being together, but rather, you are two people who are now one person. This isn’t just something based on what some would call my “religious” beliefs, but is just something that, in the case of marriage, just makes sense.

This brings me to the next important “ingredient” of marriage; honor.

Honor is one of those things that I believe is mostly ignored or misunderstood. Many would think that it’s only something you defend when an outside party attacks someone’s honor and thus one must act to defend it, but what about when the damage to honor is coming from one part of the marriage to the other? Honor is something that speaks of respect and service. It also speaks of fulfillment. I have always been bothered by couples I’ve seen that seem to have no respect for each other. I’ve seen couples that shame each other, disregard each other or even dismiss each other and every time I’ve seen that, it really upsets me.

How can you be one with someone else if when that other person’s voice is silenced, disregarded or even ignored? I see that happen and I could never fathom doing that. I can’t imagine doing that to anyone else, let alone the person I’m married to. How can I say I love someone and with the same mouth and in actions act as if what my significant other feels, knows, understands or the way she/he sees things, doesn’t matter?

I believe this lack of honor is more an extension of the realities of our current societal state. We live in a world where honoring someone only happens in cases of extreme valor, where honor should be something afforded to all, as we are all people, more similar to each other than we can imagine. Have I failed in showing and giving honor? Sure. I think we all fail at that at some point, but we must must realize this and re-correct.

Trust. Trust is a big one. It encompasses communication, honor and many more. It is easily broken, and very difficult to rebuild. The best option is to build it and never break it, plain and simple. Trust is by far one of the most fragile aspects of marriage.

Thing is, most people think of trust, in the context of marriage, and automatically assume that’s about cheating and unfaithfulness. Sure, but it’s more than that. Trust is about confidence, reliability and dependability. Trust is a choice. It’s a choice to believe in someone. It is to believe that they won’t break that trust that has been placed on them, regardless of what has come to be expected.

All of this comes down to one powerful reality that we’ve got to set as a main understanding of who we are. That reality is something that can change our perception of and identity of who we are within marriage. Once we come to accept that once married, we are no longer JUST ourselves WITH someone else, but that we are in fact a new, single entity, then we begin to see things a bit differently, and these concepts become ever so much easier to understand.

I know you do it, we all do it… But can you imagine NEVER talking to yourself? We all do it. We stop and either mentally or out loud, we vocalize and try to figure something out. We talk to the ether, trying to solve a problem, or even just saying the two choices of a decision out loud “to see how it sounds”. Can you imagine NOT doing that when facing a decision? Can you imagine the logical side or the creative side (I know the left brain, right brain thing has been debunked) just flat out choosing an option or making a decision without consulting the other side?

Take a moment to think about how you would be different if you were truly dishonorable to yourself. This means many things to many people, but looking at just the definition of the word, can you imagine not respecting yourself? Not privileging yourself? Can you imagine a world where you just didn’t care about YOURSELF to the extreme of not even paying attention to even the smallest thing you may need or desire?

Over the course of the 1 year, 8 months, and 10 days since the day I married my beloved best friend, I’ve learned many things. Many of those things are things I learned because I failed in some way. I didn’t simply fail my wife in some way that made me realize I was doing something wrong, but I failed the new ME. That new me is this new person that was made the moment we took our vows and declared ourselves one, United person.

So what’s it come down to for me? Marriage is me. It’s my wife and I as one. Setting aside all other considerations, religious ideologies, and societal thinking, if the concept of marriage could go from two people together, to two people as one, I honestly think marriages would be on the rise and not on the decline. The moment one spouse chooses to NOT offend, not dishonor, not mistrust, not break trust, or not communicate with the realization and understanding that it doesn’t JUST hurt their spouse, but rather hurts and eats away at the very core of the marriage itself as a person, It’s my belief that many marriages on the brink could come back from the precipice of destruction.

Let’s stop hurting each other. Let’s stop hurting ourselves.

-Eliezer Wagner

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