Well, it happened. Back in April of 2012, I got married to an incredible woman named EmilyGrace Yorgey. She is my joy, my inspiration, my helper, and so much more. We’ve moved into an apartment and are enjoying our new life as a married couple. The feeling of being with this person with whom I will spend the rest of my life is both amazing and scary and unlike anything else. It’s like I’ve joined a new club and everyone now looks at me with different eyes. Men have a newfound respect for you as a peer in the club. Women speak with a tone that prefaces their statements with, “as a married man…” It’s really interesting to see how different people communicate with you now that I’m part of the marriage club.
The Marriage Club
The marriage club is a fascinating fraternity. It’s this place where you’ve “succeeded” in finding a life mate, but you’re entering entirely new territory where many before you have both failed and succeeded on many different levels.
“How’s married life?”, people ask. Don’t ask that. It’s a stupid question. There’s not a good and honest answer that takes less than 5 hours to give. “It’s great”, I reply, knowing that this person is just trying to make conversation. But they’ve missed out on the essence of being in the club.
Being in the club is about learning to be married. There isn’t a week that goes by where everything is perfect, but every week is amazing. How do you explain that in a one sentence reply? Learning to be married looks like eliminating expectations and figuring out how to adjust to your spouse. It’s about supporting the other person when they’re not in a good mood, but not allowing them to destroy your good mood. It’s about protecting and serving and doing your part. There is no room for ego, no room for control or manipulation, no room for secrets and definitely no room for ignoring the needs of the other person.
Being in the marriage club gives you a deep appreciation for a healthy example of a marriage. As a single person, you find yourself increasingly jaded by the terrible examples set before you in the world and in the media, and your friends tell you horror stories that make you want to run as far away from marriage as possible. As a married person, you see where the conflict comes from and how it takes two people who love each other more than anything else to commit to being and learning to be married. Seeing an older couple who is deep in love is even more of an amazing thing because you realize what they’ve been through to get where they are.
The Death of Expectations
When we went through marriage counseling, we were taught to look at our marriage we would a maturing child. Just like you have few expectations of perfections for an infant, it doesn’t make any sense to put expectations on yourself to know how to be married. It takes time to figure out how to crawl and walk and ask for things the way you need to. It takes time to learn the intricacies of your mate in order to find the level playing field on which to work together on any given task.
What I’m learning is that it takes all of me and all of her to be married. We can’t hold back, we can’t sit by and just let marriage happen. It’s a joy-filled process of being who I am and who I was meant to be while helping enable this beautiful, incredible woman reach her full potential and continue the process of self-discovery she is on.