|Our wedding photos are courtesy of Diana from Infinite Moments Photography|
This time in December will always be a special one for me. This was when Brett decided he was really ready to get engaged (I had decided that months ago - like a typical man, it took him a little while to catch up... I am mostly joking). This was when we decided to go to the mall and just "look at what was out there" for engagement rings, and ended up going home with one. And Christmas Eve was when he proposed in front of my mom, dad, sister and grandma.
I've been thinking a lot about marriages lately, both because this was the season of our engagement, and also because December is the month that holds the most proposals. But rather than my head going immediately to weddings and gowns and cake, I have been thinking more deeply about marriage. What is it that makes them succeed or fail? Fate surely plays a part in it, some people just aren't meant to be together. But I think that there is sometimes more to it than that.
One of the things I said I was thankful for in our speech at our wedding, was the wonderful examples both Brett and I had been given of a true and lasting love.
My grandpa had a brain aneurysm before I was born which completely changed his personality. Before that point, I have been told, he wasn't always an easy person to be around. He could be stubborn and had a quick temper. I remember being over at Grandma and Grandpa's house with my mom one day when I was small and listening to Mom and Grandma visit. Grandma was regaling Mom with some story or other about Grandpa before the aneurysm and Mom asked "Why did you stick it out all those years?" To this day I remember my grandma's response. She said "On the day I married Otto, I vowed to God that I would love and care for him until death do us part. I would never break that promise."
I don't have a whole lot of memories from when I was that little, so it seems kind of silly that that is the one that I still hold onto. But when I reflect, I can see the deep impact that hearing her say that has had on me. Now, this is certainly not to say that anyone should stay in a relationship where they are not feeling valued; an unhealthy relationship is an unhealthy relationship. But for me personally, this is the reason why I was happy to be getting married young; it was also the reason that I found people's commentary on us being "too young" to get married so frustrating.
Were we young when we got married? Yes (I was just 21 and Brett was 23). Were we immature? Of course we were! We still are (and we will always seem immature when we look back on our younger selves, whether we are 15, 21, 40, etc.). But the reason we were ready to get married was because we understood that we were taking a vow. On June 29th, 2013 I vowed to God that I would love and care for Brett until death do us part - and that isn't a promise I plan on breaking.
Years ago now, my grandpa had a stroke which rendered him unable to walk or really care for himself. Grandma tried to keep him at home with her until my dad and aunt and uncles convinced her that she just couldn't care for him by herself. So the family moved him into long term care. Many wives who had a difficult husband through much of their lives would have taken this as an out. Would have assumed that the staff at the care home would deal with things from now on and pop by for a visit every few days.
That wife was not my grandma. Every day (except for a very few holidays where she went to visit my aunt and uncles) she would go to the care home and feed him his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day for years, until the day he died, just under a year ago.
This isn't that remarkable of a tale. Just an old married couple. But in today's world where we throw things away so quickly, give up on things so quickly, I think it is something that we need to try to remember.
Not every day of your marriage is going to be perfect. Your husband won't bring you flowers every day, he won't make you breakfast in bed that often (if he does, high five to you. Someone has to live the dream :). Nor will I always be cheerfully making meals, or getting the laundry done right away. If you are a farm wife, there will be some seriously trying seedings and harvests where your husband isn't a real fun person to be around. But for me, that was what for better or for worse encompassed.
Daryl Cobbin wrote in this article that "Love is not just an emotion. Love is a choice." I could not agree more. Every grumpy day, every day in seeding when I get to hear ranting about how the brand new seeder still isn't working, I make a choice to love Brett - and it is the best choice I have made yet.
Are you with me on the long haul? What are your deep marriage philosophies? I would love to hear about it in the comments.