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Marriage: A Story Shared

"You were so young." That's what most people say when they look at the wedding picture displayed in our living room. And we were young - twenty-three and twenty-two, in a culture where the average age for first marriages is 26.7 years. And to add to that, we had only known each other fourteen months and had never lived in the same state. In hindsight I wonder if, to some people, our wedding eight years ago today looked like it was headed for disaster - our reckless choices leading to that one moment when one of us would wake up wondering, "Who is this strange person I married? And why did I make this commitment?"

Not that we haven't asked that first question, but, thank God, it has not been disastrous. After several months of marriage, Justin told me that he had thought I would love going to rock concerts. (I don't - too much smoke and noise.) And I was disappointed that, on Saturday mornings, he wanted to stay in bed (amazing!) while I launched myself into the blissful, productive, freedom of the weekend.

But despite these unmet expectations, we're happy we married. We had plenty of confirmation from close friends and family and felt led by the Holy Spirit. We wanted to marry, not just because we loved each other (we did), but because we liked each other - a lot. In his blog, Jesus Creed, Scott McKnight makes a good and unique argument for marriage and against divorce. This argument is memory and story. When Scripture says, "The two shall become one," we can read it not only as a physical oneness, but as a joining of story: my story + Justin's story = our story.

One of the earlier stories we share, one whose telling has repeatedly encouraged our marriage, happened a few weeks before our wedding. When Justin went to his alma mater homecoming and didn't call me during the trip (despite the fact that he said he would), I was furious. Upon meeting him at the concourse in the airport, the first thing I said, before a kiss or hug or any romantic greeting, was, "You didn't call!" I remember saying it with a percussive tongue in an accusatory manner. He looked at me, wide-eyed and shocked. He'd forgotten, of course, and this was before cell phone ubiquity. Meanwhile, about ten feet away, another couple was greeting each other after some absence. The man was down on one knee with a little box, proposing. I hoped they didn't see us; we were no poster children for the romance of airports. Later, when relaying this story to my parents, my dad said, "You know the big ?C', right?" "Commitment?" asked my mother. "Call?" I accused. "Communication," Dad said. Through the past eight years, we've joked about the 3 C's - and how they can all help make a marriage good, especially when practiced in tandem.

October14, 2008 at 12:39 PM

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