I remembered my ex and I were walking in the park (haha, I love walking home) and he was being the devil’s advocate asking, “It’s not that I’m not for marriage… I’d like to get married again. But what’s a marriage certificate for anyway? It’s just a piece of paper! It’s no guarantee of happy marriage. People just get married because society wills them to do so.”
A marriage certificate is just a piece of paper, but granted, I still wanted that damn piece of paper. It’s important to me, but I have to admit, a lot of people get officially married because that’s what society dictates us to do so. I mean, who wants to raise illegitimate kids?
But through time, I realized that this was not just the case — marriage vows may just be words, but for the two people who are making them, if both share the same understanding of the words, it means a lot. And it’s no more important than when things get hard and it’s only these vows that keep you guys together.
It’s so easy to be together with someone when things are happy and gay. It’s when the bad times start that these vows come to play.
If you can’t get what I mean, here’s a story I’d like to share with you that explains this point accurately. I got this from an Internet forum and would love to share this with all of you. I agree with what the author is saying a 100%.
I think where people sometimes get into trouble and find themselves in situations they never expected to be in (e.g., contemplating an affair) is in believing that if you feel an intense spark with someone that it is “meant to be.”
I would like to share a story:
I asked my father once, how he had stayed in love with my mother all these years.
And then he shared some wisdom with me that had really come in handy in my life. I’d like to paraphrase what he said: “I haven’t stayed in love with your mother all these years. I’ve fallen in and out of love with your mother over the years. At first, that was really hard — to wake up next to your spouse and ask, “Why am I here? Do I love this person? Who IS this person? Sometimes I don’t even LIKE this person!”
But if you stick with it and keep communication open, the pendulum swings back in the opposite direction and you fall in love all over again. After it happens a couple of times, you begin to have faith that the pendulum will swing back, and as a result, the “swings” become less pronounced.”
He also said: “It’s important to remember that wedding vows are NOT for times when love is easy. VOWS are for when it is hard. Sometimes the only thing keeping you in your marriage are the vows you made to each other. That is what they are for. When things are GREAT, you don’t need vows to stay together. Vows are for those in-between times, when you want to break up.”
“Your mother and I are many things to one another. Sometimes she is my lover, sometimes my sister, sometimes my friend, sometimes my mother, sometimes she is my roommate, and sometimes the only thing we had in common was you kids. But you continue to respect each other and support each other, knowing that the relationship is always changing.”
He also said something that I think applies to extra-marital affairs.
He said that it is really important to remember that marriage is a CHOICE we make. And that there are many people who could have become our life partners, but we make a CHOICE. We choose ONE of those people. Inevitably, after we marry, we will meet others who COULD HAVE BEEN THE ONE had we not already made the CHOICE to marry.
He said the first time it happened to him, it freaked him out. He was speaking with a woman at a business conference and the spark was there — that “unique” spark he had felt when he met my mother.
Of course, he didn’t pursue anything, but it shook him up.
He summed it up by saying this: “When you are married and you see a person across the room and your eyes meet and there is instant chemistry, there is nothing wrong with that. But an adult—a person who has taken marriage vows—just doesn’t take a second look. He respects the choice he made and looks away.”
I’m glad he told me those things, it helped prepare me for my adult life.
To realize that there is not “meant to be” but choices.
To realize that sometimes we’ll “meet the man of our dreams… and then meet his ‘beautiful wife”-–to quote Alanis Morrisette.
To realize that emotions and attraction are very powerful things, and that sometimes all we have to overcome them is the power of conviction.
And finally, that in the future, when I am married—I may one day meet another man who “could have been the one” and that this realization alone will not be reason enough to question the validity of my marriage.
That it is natural to meet these people in our life, and to be prepared for their arrival.