By Richard M
Much of the world finds comfort without marriage. They see marriage as a burden, and even brag that they are just as happy without the “commitment.” They are wrong. Marriage is good. But I had to learn that the hard way. I don’t think I really appreciated the value of marriage until I lost that companionship through divorce.
After 17 years, my wife found someone else and left me. I struggled to understand what had happened. I went through all of the stages: anger, denial, blaming – but my loss still hurt. Sleeping alone was difficult. Visiting friends we knew as a couple was impossible. TV shows “we” had loved no longer seemed enjoyable. Even going to church was hard – all around me were moms and dads. I was just a dad. Something was missing.
In my church we believe that marriage is part of a plan God provided to help us find happiness and joy in our mortal life on Earth, and throughout eternity – a plan of happiness. As a couple builds a home and a family, they become co-creators with God to bring children into the world. The legacy of those children magnifies the power of overcoming selfishness, and doing something good as companions. We believe that this happiness and joy as companions, and as a family, can last even after death – that God intends us to be together as couples and as families forever. There is real power in the work and devotion of a happy couple in the home.
As I worked to understand why marriage was important now and forever in the eyes of God, I met and married a wonderful, patient woman who loves me. With her I have learned a couple of valuable lessons. Marriage is hard work, but:
We fool ourselves when we are on our own into believing that we are okay – that our clothes match, and that our behavior is civil. But an affectionate companion, with a commitment to stay in a marriage and to also be happy, is a great mirror to reflect who we really are. We become better people, companions, co-workers, parents—better humans—as we submit, and let someone smooth our rough spots and show us how to improve.
Without someone to console our hurt and heal our anger, we become bitter and cynical and think we can say or do whatever we want. But loving words from a committed partner make us civil and help us to love others. As we practice patience in the home with an affectionate companion and beautiful children, we learn tolerance and forgiveness, and we find great relief when we are forgiven by them with kind words.
In short, everyone likes us more when we reflect the happiness of a wonderful marriage. When two happy, patient and affectionate people are in a loving, committed marriage both become better. Maybe that is why Paul taught that the man is not without the woman and the woman is not without the man in the eyes of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:11). In the presence of God, we really are one.
We have been happily married now for 20 years, and we are enjoying our “maturing” years as good friends and supportive companions. Eternity with her looks wonderful.