Did I Marry the Right Person?
Yesterday (Valentines Day) I had the rare privilege of visiting with my neighbors to my right and left. Both are elderly couples. To my right is a man caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s. To my left is a wife caring for her weak and unable to walk husband. Both couples have been married over 50 years and were very excited to tell me that they were enjoying their 50+ Valentines Day with their significant other. And they meant it. They were excited. The man caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s said – and I quote – “I have no complaints. I love caring for her.” Wow.
You know what struck me? Neither couple griped or complained about their circumstances or the person they were ‘stuck’ with. It never (at LEAST in the last 30 years!) crossed their mind whether or not they had married the ‘right’ person. They never questioned that. They knew they had and were enjoying the privilege of learning to live with the one they married. . . till death does them part.
I wonder how many of us ask (mistakenly) ourselves, “Did I marry the ‘right’ one?”
Gary Thomas, in his Sacred Marriage, speaks to the danger of asking this question:
“If we are serious about pursuing spiritual growth through marriage, we must convince ourselves to refrain from asking the spiritually dangerous question: ‘Did I marry the ‘right’ person?’ Once we have exchanged our vows, little can be gained spiritually from ruminating on this question.
“A far better alternative to questioning one’s choice is to learn how to live with one’s choice. A character in the Anne Tyler novel A Patchwork Planet comes to realize this too late. The book’s thirty-one year old narrator has gone through a divorce and now works at an occupation that has him relating almost exclusively with elderly people. As he observes their long-standing marriages, he comes to a profound understanding:
I was beginning to suspect that it made no difference whether they’d married the right person. Finally, you’re just who you’re with. You’ve signed on with her, put in half a century with her, grown to know her as well as you know yourself or even better, and she’s become the right person. Or the only person, might be more to the point. I wish someone had told me that earlier. I’d have hung on then; I swear I would. I never would have driven Natalie to leave me.
Half the battle is just keeping our ‘story’ alive.”
If we have said “I do,” asking if we married the ‘right’ person is a ridiculous and totally illogical question. The question we must ask – especially us Christians – is, “How can I enjoy and love this person to the fullest?” For the couples I visited yesterday, their Valentine was always and had become the right person.
I dare say that their spouse was now more of the ‘right’ person for them (ailments and all) than they had been 50 + years ago.