Marriage, is not a joke. Yet it is and continues to be made fun of. Marriage is treated as if it's something to do before you die. Something to try out like a pair of red bottoms. Test it out and toss it if you don't like it.
There's a special woman whom has taken the place as my Great-Grandmother because mine passed when I was two. This god-fearing woman, with a sharp tongue and fabulous sense of humor was married to her husband, until his death, for 63 years. They'd gotten married in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the local court, said their vows, and walked around the corner to eat dinner at her parents home. Simple. Old school. Classic. But most importantly, everlasting.
I'm 23 and by the time I was born, they had been married for a good 40 plus years already. They took their position and role as husband and wife seriously. They realized and understood that there's a reason that 'we' is spelled with no 'I'. There's a reason that couple is spelled with no 'I'. There's a reason that 'vows' are spelled with no 'I'.
I was reading and studying my Bible recently about marriage, and in it I found this passage: "...and that he said, 'That's why a man will leave his father and mother and will remain united with his wife, and the two will be one' So they are no longer two but one. Therefore, don't let anyone separate what God has joined together." Matthew 19:5-6 Perfect sense it made and makes. Oftentimes, we, both as individuals and couples, as items, allow for others and everyone else not only into our relationships but into our bedrooms, and subsequently, we allow for them to decide what does and doesn't happen in our relationships. We allow for them to curve our attitudes and emotions, how we feel about situations and about our partner. We, allow for them to be the third person in our relationships.
Some time ago, I had a conversation with one of my best friends about marriage. I'd made mention that I wasn't going to drop my last name - I'll just hyphenate. Calmly, she said to me, 'Why do that? Take your husband's last name and be happy, make it known you're married. Plus, you've been Clark your entire life and last time I checked, Clark wasn't married.' She made it clear to me that if marriage is supposed to and is designed and designated to be a union, it should be treated as such.
Marriage today is played with entirely too much. And society wonders, questions, why. Celebrities don marriage the same way they do purses and diamonds that cost more than what most of us make in a year. Statistics are spewed at us in heavy rotation of how marriage is failing and falling while divorce steadily increases, exponentially it seems. We hear friends talk about being single for life because there aren't enough good girls or bad boys; that they're tired of the same ol' love song. Tired of running the love gamut.
A friend of mine on Facebook whom my parents grew up with, also an on-air radio personality for Philadelphia's local WUSL Power 99FM, Uncle O, posted recently on his Facebook status that "Some of yall wonder why when u get married it dont seem like nothing has changed...one reason is you have to drop the maiden name[,] a hyphen in ur last name dont show ur new hubby that u are ONE[.] drop old habits and get new habits...Joint bank accounts same last name the whole nine...u guys become one but u still have separate lives. Just my opinion. I see a lot of hyphenated last names not good." Needless to say, a lot of women told him he was wrong, gave countless reasons as to why they've chosen or are choosing to hyphenate or not change their names when they do get married, and at the end of the day, made it clear that they didn't feel that changing last names was necessary. I for one, absolutely agree with him.
"Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die." Sounds like marriage to me. Everyone wants be loved unconditionally; wants their own piece of the pie, but doesn't want to take the necessary steps to get there. Doesn't want to do what's necessary on their part to make sure the entity remains intact.
No, I'm not married. Never been. But someday I will be. And I'm doing it once and one time only. And it will be til' death do us part, in sickness and in health, through good times and bad.
Marriage by far is not a two-way street that allows for us to be one, yet, walk in opposite directions - defeats the purpose. Instead, it's a one way street with two individuals from two different walks of life, walking, trekking, running, traveling, and experiencing this all together. At least it's supposed to be.
Many of us have become lazy and assume that once the engagement is agreed to, the ceremony and honeymoon take place, that no work is necessary. We feel that no work is needed and that things will just fall into place on its own accord. We assume that our partner knows we love them, and that there's no need to say I love you, I need you, I want you, I appreciate you. I admit, here and now, right here on this blog and in this piece, that's a mistake, a move, a decision, a habit, that's not worth making. It's not worth making assumptions that he knows you want and desire him. It's not worth thinking she knows you love her with every fiber of your body. Speak it into existence and let it be known. Speak it into existence and practice it, show it, prove it to be true. Love, as much as it is about itself and proving that it's real, it is also about knowing.
I remember freshman high school non-fiction with Ms. Litman and one of the first lessons was show, not tell. And for months, he asked, borderline begged me to show my love and not just tell it. Show it in simple kisses when I arrived home from work, or send a text message explaining just how much I not only loved, but missed and couldn't wait to see him, type of love. We'd been together for nearly three years at that point, and he was still asking me to do these simple, basic feats, but I, a fish as stubborn as a bull, silently refused. And I can say now with every womanly existence I have, it was an uneccessary refusal because love, is work. Point blank. No way around or away it. It's a 24/7, 7 days, 52 weeks, and 12 month job.
Love and relationships, including marriage is ongoing, nonstop work. And it seems to me, that we're either too afraid or too lazy to work for what we claim we want, need, and deserve - including our partners - whether married or not.
I vouch for old school married kind of loves. Trade in our platinum weddings for City Hall in Sunday's best and quaint celebrations with those who truly are happy for us. Trade in the contractual concept for the love contract, til' death do us part, for better or for worst. Trade in hyphenated names for family names, married names. Trade in 10 year relationships that turn into two year marriages and end in divorce, for everlasting togetherness. Trade in the girlfriend, homeboy, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, tweaker, hoochie, boyfriend and girlfriend #2, side jawn talk with husband and wife conversations in bed, together, late, and full of love. Let marriage be what it is supposed to be. Let marriage exemplify the best of love, and at times, the worst of it too.
I speak and write, I attempt to practice these very things, because love and marriage are one of a kind; they are simple and basic, they are fragile and easily break like 60 year bones. If it, whether the relationship, love, or marriage, is what you want, ladies and gents, men and women, lovers alike, I beg of you to work on it. Fix it. Struggle and hustle and bustle for it. No longer allow for irreconcilable differences to be the reason you end what at one point and time you wanted. No longer allow for your mother, father, sister, brother, aunt and uncle, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, co-workers, strangers, groupies and hoochies alike, man on the street, the cat, dog, or goldfish in the bowl, be why you don't make it.
Yes, it's that deep.
Special thanks to Uncle O for allowing for his status to be used. Listen to him and Mikey Dredd, The Hot Boyz on Power 99 FM (98.9 FM) in Philadelphia from 6-10pm Monday-Friday