Marriage to the right person is heaven. Marriage to the wrong person is hell. I’ve been in both. I am so happy to be in heaven now and to have lived there for 14 years. I will show you, step by step, how to find and keep the love you have been looking for. A partner who loves you for you, “All your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections,” as John Legend writes. John Legend, "All of Me"
Let’s face it. None of us is perfect. I’ve got warts. When I get up from writing this and take a shower, I’m going to be looking at those warts. Or better yet, if I hop in bed before the shower and get naked with my beautiful wife, she’s going to be looking at those warts. And, she loves me, warts and all. Because she loves me for all my strengths and weaknesses, I get to be more me, more Tom Boomershine, than I am when it’s just me, myself and I. De La Soul, "Me, Myself and I" This is the promise of the love of a lifetime-getting to be more you because of the support of a true partner in life.
That’s what you want. A real, true-to-life, full-blown partner. Someone you can be naked with physically, emotionally, and spiritually and feel supported, appreciated, and accountable to.
You’ve got warts. We all have warts. Whether literally or metaphorically, we all have strengths and weaknesses-physically, emotionally, and personally. Nobody is a great engineer with amazing vision who paints better than Picasso and is the glue holding together all the relationships of their organization while taking care of all the little details. None of us are wired like that. You don’t want to be loved for some ideal version of you that you then have to work tirelessly to maintain, denying parts of who you are for the sake of someone else’s expectations. You want to love and be loved for who you are. You want to be the best you that you can be. And, you want to love someone else in the same way-for who they are. This is the essence of the love of a lifetime. This is your objective.
What is love, anyway? Is love that heart-palpitating feeling when you see the object of your desire across a crowded room? Is love, as the advisor said to the king in Cinderella, like this: "He sees her across a crowded room. There she stands. The girl of his dreams. Who she is and whence she came he knows not nor does he care, but his heart tells him here is the maid predestined to be his bride." Is that true love? What is this love most of us seek, desire, sweat, and bleed to attain, yet often fail to keep?
If we buy into the prevailing culture around us, we believe love is a feeling, something that we can fall into and out of. Love is attraction and romance and desire and passion. This is very fun while it lasts. But the truth and fact of the matter is, our feelings can be and often are fleeting and fickle. It’s much like what I feel like eating. Today, I'm in the mood for Italian. Tomorrow, Mexican. Wednesday, sushi. And Friday, "Ohhh! Vegetarian sounds good." Variety is the spice of life, right? Which is why many of us hop from one relationship to the next, doing all kinds of emotional damage to others and ourselves.
But what if there was a way to keep the fire burning? What if there was something more? Something deeper, filled with a fire that burns hot some days and simmers on others? What if you could have a partner in life? Someone who, regardless of what is going on, irrespective of how you or they are feeling, through internal and external highs and lows, would stick with you, and care for you no matter what is going on? Someone who you know and who knows you inside, outside, and upside down and cares for you in spite of- and often because of- your quirks and flaws and failures? Someone who won't abandon you when the next bit of tasty “food” is offered up to you on an appealing platter? And that you would return that same kind of care?
Now we're starting to get into an entirely different zone. This is love based on a promise, a commitment. Love that doesn't depend on how anybody is feeling, but, instead, depends on an action. Love that is a choice. Love as behavior. Covenant, or promised, love. This is what we commit to when we get married, at least in the Judeo-Christian faiths. When we say, "In the name of God, I take you, to have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until we are parted by death," we are committing to an action. Regardless of how we are feeling on a moment-by-moment basis, we promise we will care for our lover, come what may. Period. This love is so unique, so special, so sacred, that the Roman Catholic Church considers it a sacrament, which means that they believe that the very love of God for each and every one of us is revealed through the promise we make to each other when we get married. God will never leave us. God will always care for us. God is always faithful. Covenant love. This is what we commit to when we get married.