What makes a good marriage? Is it longevity? Compatibility? Some would say constant flowers, gifts and words of adoration go into a good marriage. But I've come to believe (and note: I've only been married 1 year, 3 months and some odd number of days, so you can put me in front of a firing squad if you would like for thinking I can give marriage advice...but please don't) that a good marriage is made up of two people who love each other and who would go to the ends of the earth to be with one another and make each other happy. Two people who would fight through hell and high water to stay together. Two people who honestly and truely enjoy each others' company, even if sometimes they would disagree with that statement.
I have been witness to many marriages. Some short, some everlasting and some absolutely perfect, though they look quite tumultuous on the surface. Call me cheezy (or any other clever name you can come up with...you won't hurt my feelings) but I honestly believe that sometimes people are meant to find each other and spend the rest of their lives together. It happened with me and my parents, so why can't that happen with romantic relationships?
I have come to think about this because I have recently discovered what love really means and how it manifests itself. My husband does not come home every day after work with beautiful flowers for me, he doesn't bring me chocolates on Valentine's Day (he claims he doesn't believe it's a real holiday, but we'll save that for another post) and doesn't think everything that comes out of my mouth is adorable and cute. But what he does do is surprise me everyday with his devotion and true and undeniable love.
As you may know, my father has been sick on and off, and though he's getting better it was very bad for a while. One night, I awoke to a phone call from the police, informing me that my father was being taken to the emergency room in an ambulance and I needed to meet my mother at the hospital. I of course was in a sudden state of panic, and before I could even form a thought or wipe the sleep away from my eyes, my husband was getting dressed and asking me which hospital we needed to drive to. I told him I could drive myself and he should go back to sleep because of his early morning, but it never crossed his mind that he wouldn't go with me. We stayed at the hospital until the sun was beginning to come up, and when there was nothing else we could do we went home. 1 hour later, my dear, sweet husband went to work. Never complaining, never saying he was tired, he drove to work and called me on his drive to tell me that he wanted updates constantly on my dad's condition and that he would leave work at the drop of a hat if I ever needed him. When I hung up the phone, I knew that I was married to the man of my dreams.
Some girls may not have that exact dream when they envision their future husband, but I would encourage girls to open their eyes and stop thinking that candy, flowers and big diamonds (though they are nice and always accepted) are what make a marriage.
My husband showed up at every one of my father's doctors appointments. He came and visited him in the hospital every day after he got off work. When my father woke up from a coma (long story, but if you're reading this you probably know it) my husband wanted to visit him immediately. Every night he prayed with me and every day he showed up. He showed up. As simple as that sounds, I believe that's what makes a marriage.
One day on my way home from work, I decided to stop by my parents house to check on my dad. I hadn't talked to my husband, figuring I would see him at home when he got off work. When I pulled in my parents' driveway, to my surprise my husband's car was sitting in parking spot, looking like it belonged. And it did. I walked in and he was sitting with my parents, chatting and looking so comfortable I could have mistaken their house for ours (except for the OBVIOUS size difference.) Without me asking, without me even knowing, he had shown up.
And now to my point: marriage is not always pretty. It's not always the fairy tale you dreamed about while lying in your childhoood bed. But when you find that one person who shows you selfless love, love that stays strong through the good and the bad, love that actually shines brighter during the rough patches, that's when you know you have the makings of a good marriage. Whether you are single, dating or married, always remember that. Love isn't flashy. It's during the simple times, the sometimes overlooked moments, that true love really shines. And if you remember that and embrace those moments, you can never go wrong.
And who knows, diamonds, flowers and Frank Sinatra seranades could come out at any moment...just be patient. ; )