I recently went to the movies with Jake, I somehow talked him into seeing Toy Story 4 with me. It was so much fun! It was spontaneous so we arrived right at the end of the previews (perfect timing if you ask me). I remember thinking, “That was easy,” after we purchased the tickets. There was no line, no drama and the tickets were pretty reasonably priced.
But the concessions…they were a different story.
There was a line so we had time to discuss what we were going to get. We decided on popcorn and a shared drink which is a big deal for Jake, he doesn’t like to cross-contaminate his beverages. After a few minutes we found ourselves at the front of the line. We placed our order and I forked out more than we had paid for the tickets. Jake grabbed two straws and we headed into the theater.
As I was sitting there, I realized that marriage is like going to the movies. It’s super exciting to court someone and let the anticipation build as two people move toward tying the knot. It’s fun to talk about what life will be like, how the story might unfold. There’s so much expectation and it’s such a thrill to think about a bright future together.
The ticket purchase represents the marriage certificate, easy enough to get and relatively inexpensive (I think mine was thirty bucks; I still have it tucked away in my safe). Every time I come across it I feel like an old black and white movie plays in fast motion…the wedding day, work, children, sickness, divorce. I sometimes pull it out and run my fingers over the signatures scribbled by two young kids who didn’t fully understand the weight of that decision of marriage.
I also have my wedding ring in the safe. It was purchased with funds from an auto accident that conveniently took place right before our engagement (and thankfully my FH wasn’t hurt). It’s beautiful. At one point we had a new band put on with a new setting and I couldn’t have been more proud to wear it. My mind quickly moves from my engagement day to the day I worked to get it off my hand. It now sits in a small box behind a locked metal door and I sometimes question what it represents, not fully understanding its fate.
The reality is this: It’s easy to get married and it’s hard to get divorced. I’m not talking about the paperwork, logistics or even the effort required. I’m talking about the emotional toll, the tearing apart of souls. There’s much healing to be done and a repair of relationships.
It’s fun and exciting to plan for the wedding—the movie ticket, if you will. But the concessions can be unexpected. We have a knowledge that the popcorn is going to be overpriced, just like we know marriage is going to be hard work, but we don’t feel the impact of it until we actually get there. We have to be ready to put value on the things that mean something to us.
And so I try to talk to my boys about the weight of marriage, of what “Until death do us part” means in this throw-away society. I’m trying to teach them things like the importance of looking for a partner who doesn’t walk away from projects, tasks or jobs that become difficult because those people are more likely to walk away from relationships, too. I’m trying to (in an appropriate way) tell them about the mistakes that their dad and I made in our relationship. I’m talking to them about looking for someone who shows a willingness to get help if/when it’s needed because God knows we can all use some good counsel throughout our lives. And loyalty is one of the most important traits we can find in a partner…someone who will walk with us on the rocky roads and the unpaved paths…someone who won’t give up on us.
Let’s be intentional about how we talk to our kids about marriage. We already know the falling in love part is easy, it’s the relationship concessions that can be challenging and unexpected.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.