I’m not much older than you, I haven’t been married for that long, but there are a few things that I want to say to you.
First, Don’t Doubt.
This is the right decision. You aren’t crazy, you’re in love.
I know, I know… They seem like the same thing, but I promise you they’re not. (You can always stop being crazy, but you can’t stop being married to her!)
You know her, WE know her. You trust her, and WE trust her too.
No more second guessing yourself, it’s go-time.
Second, You are Wrong.
Pretty much all the time, there’s no real way around it. If you want to be married, you need to recognize that you’re wrong. (And this isn’t cheesy advice: You WILL be wrong, frequently! And she will be wrong too!)
Being “right” is found in reaching an agreement. I was going to say compromise, but according to Google, a compromise is to “accept standards that are lower than is desirable.” That’s not what marriage is. Marriage is reaching an agreement where each side gets MORE than they expected, not less. If either one of you lose in a fight, you both lose.
Third, be Vulnerable.
C.S. Lewis said it best:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
This isn’t a competition, you don’t need to be perfect. Your love will grow not because of fake perfection, but because of the honesty that grows from showing your flaws, no matter how unflattering they might be.
Fourth, Have Fun.
It’s almost poetic that a marriage starts with a wedding. Not because of its beauty, or its symbolism… But because of how stressful it can be. Life can be stressful, it can be tense, it’s true. But life is also FUN. So have fun, enjoy each other’s company. Be silly, be sensational, be strange; just don’t stop having fun.
You will experience ups and downs, births and deaths. The only thing that remains constant, other than God’s love in your lives, is each other. You two will always be there for the other person, so have fun with that person!
Fifth, You are a TEAM.
You have many friends and family members, but you only have one wife. Your friends will be busy, your family members might not like a decision you made, but it’s your wife who will be your biggest supporter. So in the same way, be there for her as well. Never forget that the two of you together are so much more than the sum of your parts. You two are stronger together!
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12, the Message version, says it like this:
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!
Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.
By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Help each other out.
Be cheerleaders, not critics.
Find a common goal, and work towards it!
Sixth, I don’t think it gets Easier.
This isn’t met to scare you, but remind you that this thing called marriage isn’t about being easy or simply making you feel better. Stan Lee once said that “Life is never completely without its challenges.” Your marriage won’t be any easier than any other marriage: you may look at other people’s marriages, and say “I won’t make those mistakes.” Maybe you won’t, but you will definitely make some new ones that are all your own!
Finally, Decide to Love
“In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love. So what do you do? You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must BE tender, understanding, forgiving and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love.”― Timothy J. Keller
You need to make that decision every day. Don’t just love her when it’s easy, when she’s loveable, when she makes you breakfast. Love her when it’s hard. Love her when you’re hurt. Love her when she’s wrong (although remember, usually you are wrong too!) Decide to love her even when you feel like you can’t love anymore. You have made a commitment, the best commitment a man can make. So decide to love. Love deeply, love without abandon, love until you can’t even imagine a life without her!
And then decide to love her even more.
To my dear friend, I am not an expert.
I have not unlocked the mysteries of love and marriage.
But I am here for you. In your victories and in your defeats, in your joy and your sorrow, I am here for you.
Enjoy this new journey that you are embarking upon, and always, always, always…
Decide to love.
Originally published at medium.com