What Marriage Means To Me

Before my husband and I were married, our pastor asked us to write about what marriage means to each of us. I was only 24, but I was on to something.

What marriage means to me.

I think before I can get into what marriage means to me I need to get out why I hesitated to tackle this paper in the first place. Fear. Fear of my unhealthy ideas. I didn’t want a piece of paper proclaiming these to the world or at least to Scott. Not that I am trying to keep things from Scott either, but I guess that I thought I would walk through the unhealthy fears as they come up not as I discovered them in this paper. Some of the ones I stumble upon I may not be willing or ready to let go of; yet there they will be and I will have to start praying for that willingness. Boo! However, the writing must go on…

I have entitled the piece simply What Marriage Means to Me with maybe a second title of Alex Is A Lot More Healthy Than This Paper Implies. Actually, that sounds more like a disclaimer than a second title.

Honestly, (that is always a good way to start because I can get points for being honest even if what I say is weird) I am not quite sure what marriage means to me. I know that I thought that being engaged meant I would never be alone again. And then Scott went back to Roanoke, Virginia the day after proposing, and that idea slowly unraveled as I stayed in Charlottesville.

I also seemed to think that us living together meant Scott would always be home when I was home and never go out with his friends without me. This has proved to be untrue and unhealthy, and I am currently taking the right action to get over it and waiting for my emotions to follow. (slowly follow… very slowly follow… maybe not following as much as looking in that direction and thinking about following…)

But I digress because the paper is not entitled Ideas Alex Has Already Had on Engagement and Living Together. Nope, it’s titled What Marriage Means to Me, and I have avoided the topic long enough.

Marriage means two people becoming one in the eyes of God and celebrating the union of two lives with friend and family. Wait, that’s what a wedding is.

Marriage has a lot to do with loyalty. Standing up for the other person. Granting the benefit of the doubt. Being a team. Standing up for what is right for us not just me. Decisions are not mine anymore but ours. It means to let go of selfishness and put Scott’s spiritual growth foremost in my mind. Marriage is about playing many roles to keep the household functioning and supportive. Leaning on each other. Having faith in the person’s abilities. Loving unconditionally. Lifelong commitment. Accepting the person as a fallible human. Love the person because of, not despite of, faults. Marriage is hard work. Sacrificing myself for the us. Prioritizing us over everything worldly including the children. Honesty. Being open to new experiences. I sometimes believe that marriage means no fighting but that’s not true. I also sometimes believe it means that I will never be lonely but hard times will come and I will be lonely. I also know these times will pass. Marriage is having a best friend with whom to share every up and down, success and failure, smile and tear. A spiritual partner. A person with whom to pray. Marriage is a reflection of God’s love for us. It is a gift. I want to be forever grateful for it, but I know that most of the time I will probably be a dumb jerk about the situation.

I hope this has given a little insight into my thoughts on marriage. I was planning on being more original but perhaps, some things, like marriage, have always been and always will be, what it is today.

I love being married to Scott, but I might print out the second-to-last paragraph to remind me of what being married to Scott truly means.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

18 thoughts to “What Marriage Means To Me”

  1. “Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling… Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go… But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense – love as distinct from “being in love” – is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God… “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.” – C.S. Lewis

    Love you…like for reals.

  2. This: “I want to be forever grateful for it, but I know that most of the time I will probably be a dumb jerk about the situation.”

    We’ve all been right there. The real deal is *knowing* when you’ve been a jerk, and choosing to find your way back to grateful.

  3. First? I love that picture! Second, I needed to read this. We have been married 12 years in November. I love my husband very much but I am much more social than him. I want to go do things with my friends. I would love for him to come along, but he never wants to join us. I understand that. A Halloween party is coming up and I want to go, but I know he doesn’t. I know he doesn’t love the idea of me going either. I know I shouldn’t go. This post convicted me!

  4. I never thought much about what I expected from marriage, except I knew what I didn’t want it to be.

    It’s a lot harder to focus on what I want. It’s evolving.

  5. You were, and still are, one smart cookie. I was just saying to someone the other day, “You better make sure your husband is your best friend, because if he’s not, you’re in trubs.” Well done. If anyone ever asks you for advice on marriage, you should just print out that second to last paragraph and hand it to them.

  6. Your post today was such a gift. I have been praying and thinking all week about how to present an opportunity to my congregation for a marriage conference and I was searching all day today for just the right scripture. Well, as it would be, my husband (who loves the writings of C.S. Lewis) dedicated himself to Christ at the very conference we are now promoting and lo and behold, although not a scripture, your husband’s quote is JUST what I was praying for. Also, your post today is awesome, as usual! Especially this: Marriage is a reflection of God’s love for us. It is a gift. I want to be forever grateful for it, but I know that most of the time I will probably be a dumb jerk about the situation. Love it.

  7. You guys were (and still are) so adorable! I love that this is written in your same voice that I’ve grown to love on your blog. Thank you for sharing.

    1. He immediately wanted to know if I had his essay still too. I do but it’s has some personal stuff in it that I can’t post here (much to Scott’s disappointment). However, I can email it to you if you want.

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