To My Brother:
Our parents’ marriage had a big impact on both of us, in very different ways.
Growing up, we could always tell our parents weren’t happy. Their unhappiness motivated me to approach my relationships differently and to look for something different in my marriage. For you, it deterred you from wanting to be married at all.
To me marriage is about being with your best friend forever. But I know that you don’t feel the same. You haven’t wanted to get married because you’re afraid of that commitment and are worried the relationship will just go sour anyway.
I know some guys, like you, are afraid they won’t be happy in a lifelong commitment. Now that I am married and have a family of my own there’s one thing I want you to know: Making that commitment is not the end of joy in your life. It is just the beginning.
Marriage takes a relationship between two people who love each other to the next level because they are vowing to be there through all the hard and easy times.
Even during the rough patches when my husband and I seem to get on each others nerves and we stress each other out, it’s our commitment to each other—in good times and in bad, as our vows said—that helps us find joy again. We know we are still on each others sides even in the hard times. It’s our commitment that makes our marriage work, because we know neither of us is going to walk away—we are going to work it out.
Because I know he is on my side always, I’ve been more vulnerable and open with my husband than I could have ever imagined possible. There is security and safety in marriage that your spouse loves you enough to make a promise to be with you and there for you for the rest of your life. Marriage has made me feel more loved—including both my good qualities and my flaws—than I could have ever imagined, and that truly brings joy.
If you look at our parents, they did not love each other through hard times and the good times. They were not equal partners in life together. They did not stay true to their vows in this way. These are mistakes, not an example of what marriage is meant to be.
You don’t have to repeat those mistakes. You can find a partner who believes in a marriage like this, and together you can make it work. Commitment is worth the risk because there is nothing like knowing you have your best friend as a partner to go through life with.
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