Reader, I married him

Several months ago, Alisa and I reread Mudhouse Sabbath together and talked about it over email. These thoughts were gleaned from that discussion.

At the heart of weddings–because also at the heart of marriage–is the balance between privacy and community. Marriage, to be sure, is an intimate matter, the making of a partnership that knits two people together in secret and inside ways (just consider what Adam says of Eve: “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”). But it is a pernicious myth of modernity that marriage is merely private: Marriage is also a community endeavor. It is your friends and family who help you stay straight and true when your marriage feels too crooked or curvy. It is your sister or best friend or bridesmaid who can remind you why you ever married him in the first place. It is the neighbor or confidant who is just outside the thing who can sometimes tell you the truth about it. -Lauren Winner, Mudhouse Sabbath

When I read that, I cried and cried. I don’t remember doing that the first time I read it, but I did this time. We are approaching five years of marriage (five years!) in a couple of weeks, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that Mike and I wouldn’t still be together without our friends. That God has used them to keep us together. And the fact that we’re in such a peaceful place right now is due in huge part to their faithful efforts, their listening, their encouraging, their prayers, their reminding, their presence, their love, their tears, their partnership, the way they have walked with us. I would do things so much differently if I were to get married now. I’d have different people as my bridesmaids, and dress styles are different now, and I would care more about some of the details than I did then. But I am thankful for the people who were there, who accepted the charge to do everything they could to uphold our marriage, and who have followed through on that. And the friends we have made since who have done the same. I think the worst thing a couple can do is to isolate themselves. I have friends who have done it, and I have sighed over it and lamented that choice for them, because I think what is really needed is for the couple to be surrounded by community. You have to have it to survive. It’s not just the two of you against the world . . . you’re a part of something bigger.

If I have learned anything in these almost five years, it’s that.

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