Twenty-nine years ago, after a month's engagement, I married my friend, Wayne Youngblood. Who knew what that even meant when we began? Certainly not us. We knew we recognized in each other something unique and precious we didn't want to lose. However, building a life together, shaping a family, earning a living, facing making priority decisions over small expenditures as well as large issues -- we had no clue.
Love is not the "happy ever after." It is, however, the foundation for facing together all life has to offer without giving up. It requires faith in each other, patience, give and take, a long-term balance sheet (not expecting everything to be equal on a given day). We had the misfortune of being married in the 80s when we felt compelled to shed any gender-based expectations -- then discovered over the years, you cannot make the genders interchangeable!! We look at things differently, have different strengths and weaknesses. Women toss words through the air as if they are ping-pong balls - Men see those words flying and duck from them as if they were lead cannonballs. So many differences!!
But, the beauty is that life is so much richer for the differences - for the struggles and joys and sorrows. To choose to build a life together is like choosing to swim in the ocean instead of the 4' deep pool in the apartment complex. It's risky, envigorating, scary, exciting and so much more satisfying.
I was looking through snapshots of our wedding today. In no way would I choose the young Wayne & Dorothy over who we are today. We may at times be tired old curmudgeons, but we are much better people for the 29 years we have spent together.
Do I recommend marriage in general? That depends. If you want a solution to life's problems, a happy ending, a simplification of life, then "NO." If, however, you want a more complex and rich existence, and have the character and motivation to commit through thick and thin - then by all means "YES!" You, like me, will be glad you did.