Lately, I have found myself in conversations with friends about relationships and commitment. I’ve been hearing them say, “We will be together as long as it works and if it stops working, then it will end.” There seems to be a distrust and even suspicion of the act of marriage. These are friends who have relationships I admire and who are clearly in it for the long haul. I trust their decision making and discernment, but it has made me pause to reflect on why we choose marriage.
A marriage is rooted within a community. We prayed that our relationship would be a gift to the larger community and asking for the help of accountability and support when things are difficult.
I believe that part of the work of discipleship is growing deep roots. We choose to root ourselves in a place, in a watershed, in a historical context and moment. Therefore, marriage becomes part of putting down roots with the one we love and tending them together.
Written into our vows we said “may our life together be a journey towards nonviolence, simplicity, and justice.” We not only committed our lives to one another but to working together in the building of the beloved community. My parents used to say that they are working their salvation out within the vocation of marriage.
4. To Say it Out Loud
Voice is powerful. It takes tremendous courage to make a promise out loud and to do it publicly. The risk and vulnerability of that act became part of the gift we gave each other.
5. God is in this relationship
Perhaps the most obvious reason for the sacrament is welcoming God to that place and time. God dwells in the promise and in our lives. We enter into this trusting our lives to one another, but also trusting that God is working within us.
Relationships change when the commitment is forever. We settled into our lives with a new understanding. We could relax. Breathe into it. We fight differently in the knowledge that this argument cannot end things and that the love is unconditional even within the tension. There is a freedom that comes with marriage.
7. Through all Generations
I love ritual. It unites us with the cloud of witnesses that have made these same promises before us and all that will in the future. It is a reminder that we are not alone, that others have loved and struggled, and that marriage is far bigger than just us.
These days marriage is complicated. It can be about power, politics, and prejudice. Getting married was an act of reclaiming the sacrament. Naming and honoring it as the best it can be- true gift and grace.
Our love is sacred- everything about it. Waking up next to each other. Holding hands as we pray over our meal. Planting seeds in the garden together. Catching eyes across the room. Making love. Laughing til our stomachs hurt. Wiping away tears. Holding each other when we are sick. And every ordinary moment in between. It is all sacred. I give gratitude for that. The sacrament of marriage reminds us of that sacredness in it all.
10. Rejoice in the Promise
I made this promise because I wanted it. With my whole heart, with my whole being, with my body and soul, I want you. I could ask for nothing more than to grow old with you. To share my life with you. To struggle. To love you and be loved by you. Therefore, I rejoice in making that promise. How could I do anything less?