A Few Thoughts on Marriage & Commitment

[Ed. Note: Here are some thoughts from this weekend. It was my best friend’s wedding (it was fantastic!) & it got me thinking a lot about marriage. What follows is a slightly cleaned up version of my remarks from the ceremony itself… I also want to mention that I am touched by how many people liked what I had to say – I’m not someone to whom emotional wisdom comes to naturally – what little I have has been very hard fought :-)]

I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage lately, as I’ve been to numerous weddings in my life, but this one hits really close to home. The term that comes to mind, for many of us, when we think of marriage is commitment. And that means lots of things to lots of people, but I’ve begun to think, that the idea of commitment that we think of, when we think of marriage, is misplaced. We tend to think of the commitment to be with someone for the rest of their lives; we think of the commitment to be faithful to that person for the rest of our lives. And while those are important to many people, and important parts of many marriages, I don’t think that they are the central commitment that marriage is about. I think there is a deeper primary commitment. And that’s briefly what I wanted to talk about.

It seems to me that in all of our relationships, with everyone in the world, everyone we come into contact with, we are faced with a choice when we come to times of conflict. There are always conflicts, there are always going to be crises, and there are always going to be minor annoyances. The thing that I’ve learned is that with each of these conflicts there comes a choice: To turn towards that person, and open to that person and be very vulnerable to that person, or to turn away. There is not always a right or a wrong answer. There are times when you should turn to the person you are in conflict with. There are times that you should turn away. There are relationships that are not to be part of your life, just as there are relationships that are to be part of your life.

It seems to me that the central commitment that these two lovely people are making, and that is important, is a commitment to always turn towards each other and always open, no matter how vulnerable that makes them. That’s a great challenge. I think that means that as the two you grow, and as the conflicts arise or don’t arise, you are committing to open to each other and be vulnerable, and to say “Ok, this hurts, but I’m here, and I’m open to you” and that is a really beautiful thing and I love you both.

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