When we ponder the puzzling question, ‘What is marriage all about?’, I wish we’d recognize that marriage is a lumbering elephant. Sounds like a far-fetched and silly comparison, but hear us out.
We want the fleeting sharp tang of romance, and we mistake it for love and the making of a solid marriage, but marriage doesn’t have the soaring-in-the-sky quality of a brilliant flamingo. Elephants don’t fly.
We want a partner to share in all our sorrows and happiness, but an elephant doesn’t do that either. It just is an elephant. It gives some nice shade when it chooses to stand between you and the sun, but then, it has to make that choice. You don’t want to be caught beneath its bulk if it decides to take a snooze. You don’t want to be anywhere near it if it is in the mood for a muddy bath or a dust shower. Or when it’s raging mad because a tiny arrow dug into its hide. Same applies for when it’s terrified too.
What Does It Mean To Be Married?
Marriage is just an elephant plodding along, going nowhere but to the next pond or grass or field. And although there are times when it takes to its heels, it doesn’t do that for long and even then, its sturdy legs come down hard on the ground. But remember, it walks with immense grace and that is the answer to what is marriage all about.
And we are the blind men and women forming our opinions of marriage and our ideas about if and how does marriage make you happier. Each of us, we hold a different part of the elephant’s body and we call it by different names based on our perceptions of what marriage really means. We call it romance and love and affection and trust and adjustment and developing respect and space and such things.
Sadly, there are names that we don’t want to admit, least of all to ourselves – ownership and pride and showpiece and a maid-for-all-purposes or a man-for-all-the-muscle and many of those iffy things that break the spirit of our marriages.
We all expect something out of our marriage. And we don’t realize that some expectations are an impossibility. We want our spouse to be like us in some ways and unlike us in other ways. We aren’t keen on recognizing this fact.
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The essence of what is marriage all about
You love that lady for her values because they match so much with yours. But, try living with her and you find that she’s not the extrovert that you are. Turns out, you are complete opposites in love. Your life is filled with people, you’re calling on friends and receiving guests and hosting dinners when all she wants to do is curl up on the window ledge by herself. It becomes a daily problem and it dries your love away a drop at a time.
Or he’s the big muscle man you wanted between you and the world. He’s able to take on the world and that’s just what you desire. But, turns out, he wants his own way and even if he lets you have your way, he just won’t do the things you love doing. Turns you lonely quite fast.
Or he’s the perfect man that everyone says he is, but that perfection isn’t your idea of perfection.
Or she’s beautiful with a soft voice, playful as hell, but do you burn in jealousy each time she’s flirtatious or affectionate with other men?
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The Answer To What Marriage Really Means
Luck seems to be ours if our partner shares the same values that we want to share. But, that luck is rare to come by. That’s probably for a reason. There’s more to learn when that luck doesn’t find us than when it does. So, we may as well get going with the learning.
We could begin to see what we are and what we are not. Then we try to see what the partner is and what the partner isn’t – as much as we are capable of seeing and being patient in a relationship.
Mind you, we still won’t see everything. We cannot see the worst or the best side in ourselves and in our partner until we are put to the test. But, the traits that lead up to it will be there. Deal with what you can see and you’ll be more capable of dealing with the later shifts in the relationship. Marriage isn’t just about your happiness or some kind of gratification. It is love and friendship that requires work and persistence each day.
So let’s make a change in our way of thinking. Let’s not try to change our partner’s ways, but try to accept these when we ought to. Because that’s what marriage really means. Let’s not attack the other, but try to see our partner’s viewpoint and leave it at that. Let’s not wish for what we don’t have, but see the good in what we do have. Stop chasing perfection and start creating it yourselves.
Let’s not label marriage as this or that. Let’s recognize it for the big lumbering thing that it is and let it bring out the best in us. Aren’t we on our best behavior when we face an elephant, untethered and without its mahout? That’s not adjustment, that’s rising to the obstacle of marriage and understanding what is marriage all about.
Marriage is a sacred union of love, commitment and friendship. While it is a lifelong promise and commitment, it is not perfect. With its ups and downs, marriage is sort of like a roller coaster of feelings and emotions that you cannot get off of.
It is a lifelong commitment and the starting of a family. Its purpose is to help people find love, happiness and learn how to cherish and make adjustments to one another. It is about having someone you can share all your troubles with at the end of a long day and also find comfort. That is what marriage is about.