I had the honor of officiating my dear friends’ wedding this past weekend, and I am still glowing in the aftermath of one of the most meaningful, beautiful, and fun weddings I’ve ever attended. Last night, after returning home from a such a fast-paced weekend, I finally had a chance to come down from the high to breathe and reflect. I found myself in tears as I recalled the events and mostly the words of gratitude from family and friends of the bride and groom.
I wrote the words below with the intention of sharing my experience of love – a love that has brought me joy, pain, elation, confusion, comfort, laughter, ease, and peace. I never quite grasped the impact these words could have, but upon realizing it, I feel compelled to share it with my readers. I am not married, but I am blessed to experience an inspirational, transformational love every day in my current relationship, which has spanned over a decade. These are my experiences, and that is all I can speak from. I believe, that every person has the capacity to relate to love. And no matter our current relationship status or our path in life, we can let love be the force that unites us as humans.
On love and marriage:
As author, Adrian Tan defines love: “There is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn all the better for it.”
When I was trying to piece together my thoughts on the definition of marriage, I first wanted to consider the meaning of love, and I came across the quote below –
Love is a longing to include someone as a part of yourself. It is a possibility to become more than what you are by inclusion. – Sadhguru
To me, love is not a thought, it is an action. It requires total acceptance of yourself and your partner. In love, there is no right or wrong. There is no contingency or expectation of reciprocation. In fact, it’s actually easier to find reasons not to love someone than to constantly look within and practice patience, kindness, and communication. But I truly believe we love because it inspires us.
I believe that when you look at the person you love, you see a mirror into your own soul. They reflect the best version of who you are, even if all you can see are your faults and shortcomings. And when you love someone, you want to be a better you. Ghandi once said, “Where there is love, there is life.” Love gives us life; it renews and energizes us. It makes us want to be better.
So if marriage is in your foreseeable future, forget everything you’ve ever known about this topic, and consider these 5 things:
- Marriage is a choice. We must wake up and choose it every day of our lives. We must cherish it, and we must also be willing to fight for it.
- Marriage is not about right or wrong. It’s more important to be kind rather than win an argument. It’s also not about setting expectations or making promises. These limit us and set us up for disappointment and anxiety. So forget about setting goals or making 5-year plans, and instead, focus on living with generosity, compassion, and authenticity every day of your lives.
- Marriage is not about being happy. Writer Tyler Ward says, “Although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire, and help us grow.”
- Marriage is about moments. In marriage, just as in life, we have no control over what will happen. Good things will happen. Bad things will happen too. But we can choose how we will react in each moment. Know that the past cannot define us, and the future has yet to be written. All we truly have is this exact point in time, and we can choose to be fully present and alive in each moment as it comes.
- And lastly, marriage is nothing. Don’t think of the negativity we emphasize on this word “nothing”, but think of it as two words – no thing. Marriage is not this or that. We can say marriage is about happiness, but we already acknowledged there will be difficult or sad times. We can say marriage is about two kids, a minivan, and eventually retiring and traveling the world with your 401K. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to just that! Actually, marriage is none of those things. It won’t look like your friends’ marriage, your parents’ marriage, or even your current vision of marriage. If you can, consider for a moment that your marriage is nothing except the love you are radiating today and the choice you are making to stand by each other through thick and thin. Without a set definition or vision of marriage, you are free. You are free to create this definition of union, of matrimony, of eternal love. You are free to color outside the lines. You are completely free, and with freedom comes limitless possibility.
So to conclude, marriage is nothing. And in this space of nothing, love is everything. Consider that marriage is a blank coloring book that is yours to fill. Wake up each day and create. Create beauty, meaning, and inspiration. Create the life you want to live.