My wife and I have been through a lot in our 7-year marriage. There have been a lot of fun and good times, but there have also been a lot of hard times.
There was the time our first child was born and we saw the beautiful life that we had created together, and it brought us so much love—and there was the time that we almost got a divorce early in our marriage. There was the time I went through firefighting classes and she showed me how much she believed in me and supported me—and there was the time that she spent a week at her mom’s house because I had let anger get the best of me.
But I wouldn’t go back and change anything. Why? Because all that has happened is what got us to where we are today. And in my experience, when I look at the whole story of our marriage, it’s been a life-changing experience for the better. It’s made me a better man. Because if you think that you love the person you’re dating now, just wait ‘til you get married. I’ve found that marriage brings out a new type of love—an amazing and enduring love that grows like vines on your heart.
I believe marriage is amazing because it can make you change for the better. When you’re with the person you really love, you notice the things you do that they may not like so much. So you work on not doing them. You also notice those things that your loved one does enjoy, so you can work to become better at those things. I’m a much different person from when I first got married and now. I think I’m wiser and more aware of my wife’s needs—I know how to treat her better.
In my experience, marriage and dating are a night and day difference. Marriage requires a lot of selflessness. When you get married you have to throw every bit of selfishness out the window because you don’t care for only you any more: you care for the other person, and they care for you. Marriage is all about commitment and sacrifice; you now have to provide for that person. And that’s a good thing! You learn how deep and rooted love really is.
You also discover true friendship in marriage. In my mind, true friendship is when you can be open and honest and say anything to each other and you know the other person is there to help, not to judge. It’s somebody you can turn to any time of the day or night and they will be there to help you. My wife is my best friend, but a marriage friendship is different than a friendly friendship. And the reason I say that is because your friendship with your spouse is something that only you two could share. Yes, you can experience true friendship outside of marriage. But the difference is that in a marriage friendship you share everything with each other, body and soul.
And if you think that the love you feel with the person you marry is amazing, becoming a parent will blow your mind. The love you feel for your child is the most powerful love there is: pure, innocent, and unconditional. I love my children and there’s nothing they could do to change that. And you also think of the fact that you made that amazing human life with the person that you love oh so much, that you created a life together—and it’s the best of your spouse put together with the best of you.
So if you’re on the fence about marriage because you don’t believe in it, or if you want to get married and you’re just too scared, I say just go for it. Think of marriage as an adventure with a person whom you can share a deep and lifelong friendship with. In marriage, you discover the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly—but at the end of the day you know you have somebody you can always turn to for help with your problems and to love you unconditionally.