In the Marine Corps I learned to sleep anywhere. I’ve slept in the Iraqi desert and in the Brazilian jungle. I’ve slept in holes and on sandbags, in planes and on rocking ships. If fact I consider myself an expert on sleep—or at least an expert at falling asleep—and that’s why it was so strange that I couldn’t sleep a wink the night before my wedding day.
It was July 16th, 2010 on a Friday night, I was in a hotel with three of my younger brothers, and I made sure to go to bed early since I had a big day ahead of me. As long as Kara didn’t escape, I knew that on July 17th I was going to give my life to my beloved, I was going to make a permanent and unconditional gift of myself, and I was going to receive the best gift of my life!
Kara and I had thought and prayed about marriage carefully, spending countless hours talking about our future and seeing if we really were the right fit for each other. I knew I was going into this decision as prepared as I possibly could be, and yet that Friday night I stared at the ceiling for hours and hours reflecting on my upcoming commitment.
It’s not that I doubted my choice of Kara, far from it, but I was experiencing the weight of the choice itself. Was I really ready to give my life away? Could I really promise to love another person for the rest of my life? How do I know that I have what it takes?
My nervous energy kept me awake for almost the entire night and it didn’t go away on the day of our wedding. Thankfully, Kara didn’t go away either, and on July 17th we tied the knot. Heading into our fifth year of marriage I’m still learning the weight of the choice I made, and I am still growing in thankfulness for having made it.
Marriage is a dramatic decision; it binds us to another person for the rest of our lives, no matter what happens. And that can be scary; in fact it should be scary, but I’m also convinced that it’s exactly what we’re looking for. In marriage all of us bite off more than we can chew. That’s the gift of marriage. We commit to something bigger than ourselves, and through that commitment we grow more than we could have ever done alone. I was not prepared for the promises I made on July 17th, but those promises are making me into the man who will keep them.
How do you view the promises of marriage? Are they intimidating, or exciting? How have the promises changed you in your marriage?