Wednesday April 4th, 2018
I see gray hair, two wrinkled, worn out hands that are holding each other. The vows pulsating again and again in my head. “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” I see a husband coming everyday to see his brain dead wife at a care home. Everyone telling him it is pointless, she will never know. He will know though, the vows pulsate in his mind. “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” His mind flashes back to her face on that fate filled day when he said and meant those vows. Her eyes sparkling with excitement and expectation. She wants to spend her life with me? His mind can’t comprehend why, but he is so happy that she does, he vows silently to himself that he will not let her down. His mind comes back to the present, he is staring at those eyes, the eyes from that fate filled day. They are the same eyes, yet so different, they are so distant. He has been sitting by her side everyday for the last 5 years, since her condition worsened. Looking into those eyes. For a moment her eyes change, her old self returns, it is so brief he questions whether his mind is playing tricks on him. He looks into those familiar eyes and whispers “65 years we’ve been together. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” He kisses her forehead as he stands to leave.
I see a young man at the altar, looking into his young wife’s eyes he is saying these same vows “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” I see the first time they met, the coffee shop they were in. A few dates later and they began fully giving each other their bodies, I see their months of laughter and fun as they can’t get enough of each other. It culminates with the young man on his knee with a ring. Then I see them again, some months after the young man said his vow on that fate filled day. He is in that same coffee shop again, his wife is not there. They’ve been fighting again. He bumps into another girl and a smile is exchanged. Some months later I see the man again, in a bed with the girl he bumped into at the coffee shop. His mind feels torn, what will he do? Months pass again, he is looking into her eyes again, the eyes he looked into less than a year ago when he said his vows on that fate filled day. He is passing her a folder full of papers, her eyes fill with tears. Months pass again the man and this other woman are at the altar, he is saying the vows again, his mind goes back to the first time he was here. A pang of regret strikes him, the vow he is saying means less than he remembered.
What has happened in our culture? When did “until death do us part” turn into “until I find a better option.” The word that comes into my mind first and foremost is “consumption.” In our beautiful, first world country we have the wonderful freedom to consume. Consume information, consume food, and worst of all, consume people. We are obsessed with instant gratification believing that we deserve what we want, when we want it. Want food? We have fast food. Want to know the answer to any question? We have google. Want friends? We have facebook. In our society of “there is an app for that” we have lost sight of commitment. Our consuming and instant gratification mind sets carry over to our friendships and romantic relationships. We live in a culture where sex before marriage is not discouraged, it is encouraged. People say things like “you are young, enjoy yourself while you are young and beautiful.” Abstinence is no longer a well taught form of pregnancy prevention, rather condoms are handed out in high schools and colleges. Sex and physical attraction are now accepted things to base a relationship or even a marriage upon. Yet the feelings don’t last forever, the feelings never seem to last all the way through sickness and health. Feelings never seem to last until death does you part. A 60 year marriage doesn’t come from instant gratification, physical attraction and feelings. It comes through daily commitment to that person, loving that person deeply, even through the times where you don’t seem to like them very much. You see, our culture likes to think that love is a feeling, but that is where we get confused. Love is a choice, love is an action. Love is how we talk with people, the ways we serve, the ways we put others before ourselves when our feelings are telling us to care more about ourselves. Love is in taking out the trash without being asked, making dinner and cleaning the house because you know your spouse has had a long day of work and won’t want to come home to that. Love is in the way we behave not in the way we feel.
You see, I am of the opinion that everything is connected, from the “small” things we do when we are alone, to the thoughts we think that only God can see. Everything in life is compounding. I am reminded of the song “slow fade” by casting crowns. It simply talks about how our corruption doesn’t happen over night. It happens slowly over time, one seemingly small decision at a time, that over time takes you to places you never thought you would be. Like the man in the 2nd story, when he said his vows to his first wife, he really did mean them. Overtime though, with small decisions down to what thoughts he was thinking lead him to destroy the vows that he had meant wholly at one time. Our decisions are important, down to what we look at, listen to, or who we spend our time with. While you may have trouble connecting how our consumption of social media has to do with our trouble of connecting with other people at a deep level, I urge you to ponder how your decisions affect you and your future. I had a teacher once tell me that you should “become today the man you want your wife to marry.” This was very impactful for me, seeing as I am not married, it is easy to put off changing certain things, claiming that I will change them when I get married. The reality is that I can be working right now on becoming who I want my spouse to eventually marry. We have to take a stand right now, wherever we are, in whatever situation we are in. We have to stand up for commitment, to stand up for God and the plans he has for us, to stand up for the vows we make and the things we say we are going to do. Everything in this world will fight against beautiful things like marriage as God intended, but we as Christians have to take a stand and begin understanding the small cracks in our armor that are caused by small decisions we make. We have to stop compromising with the world.
The long story short that I am trying to get at with this thought is that what you spend your time doing impacts every aspect of your life, including, but not limited to, your marriage, whether current or eventual. Sorry it was so long to get that point across.
Thanks for reading!
– God bless!
– Jesus loves you!
– Andrew Potter