I love when the jeweler cleans my wedding ring. Its renewed radiance resonates for days. It looks bigger and more brilliant than before and I am reminded of how it glistened in the summer sun after DW placed it on my finger over thirteen years ago. It’s easy to forget the beauty when it is dulled by the grime and dust accumulated day after day.
Recently, I have been painfully reminded how fragile relationships are, especially marriages. My daughters need to understand there are no perfect relationships. There are no knights in shining armor, no “one true loves” or perfect matches. These “fairy-tale” romances do not exist, at least not organically. After all, the word romance itself is based on feelings of exaggeration. It is associated with chivalric love and adventure. What can exist, I think, are two people who commit to loving each other and promise to spend the rest of their days actively courting and pursuing one another. One of the things I most value about my marriage is that we both choose each other. We both take care to affair-proof our relationship.
I’m not a follower of talk-shows, but I found this article by Dr. Phil to be pretty spot on. There is a lot of great advice, but here were my favorite points:
- Don’t play games in your head. It is a short step from thought to action.
- Don’t confuse reality with fantasy. We often forget that there’s a difference between falling in love and being in love. You can’t expect a love that grows to be like it was on the first date.
- If you want to have a good partner, be a good partner. Put 100 percent into your marriage.
- Work on your marriage every single day, not just during the bad times. Wake up each day and ask yourself, “What can I do today that will make my marriage better?”
There’s also a quote by Kahlil Gibran, from the book The Prophet, that found me this morning:
“Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.” – Kahlil Gibran
I can’t help but want to substitute the word marriage for house, because, after all, my relationship with DW is my comfort and my shelter. It is what I call home.
Often people say things like, “They are my rock and my anchor” when describing their closest friends or partner. However, anchors are heavy and cumbersome, aren’t they? They are large weights tied by chains that keep us from moving. The whole purpose of an anchor is so that you can’t drift, but that also means that when you have dropped anchor, you can’t go anywhere. You are confined to the same spot, your view does not change. Opportunities for growth would be limited. I don’t want to be DW’s anchor. I would never want to be what keeps him from reaching his full potential.
The idea of our relationship, our marriage, being more like a mast is much more fulfilling. In fact, it feels almost enlightening. Together we can be tall and strong; together we can hold each other upright, letting the air fill our sails and carry us anywhere we want to go. A mast towers into the sky, a backbone like structure, rising above the deck of a ship to support the yards, booms and rigging.
I want my house to be a mast, not an anchor.