This past weekend one of my cousins got married. This is the cousin that, for all of my growing up years, was my only guy cousin. Since having achieved adulthood, or some semblance of it, two other boys have joined the Filippo ranks, but they are younger than most of my nieces and nephews so that relational dynamic is a little different. So for the purposes of this story, my only guy cousin got married this past weekend. In honor of his recent matrimony I have dedicated this newsletter to the concept, “Marriage: Expectations vs. Reality.”
Which side of the bed will you sleep on?
Expectation: You guys will have an adult conversation about which side you are more comfortable on, you will probably try out one side and then swap to the other just to see how it feels. Once you determine whose side is whose you will purchase cute little sheets that will always remind you where to sleep. But honestly none of that will matter because you will spend the entire night cuddling together and whispering sweet nothings into each others’ ears.
Reality: It doesn’t matter, you will get a little sliver of the bed to sleep on and no matter how hard you try to convince her that she sleeps on “your side” of the bed she will lie two ways to Sunday insisting that it is actually you who are infringing upon her territory. And forget cuddling, at some point you have to sleep and the reality is that one of you will probably put off heat like a kiln while you sleep driving the other to the far corner of the bed. If one of you doesn’t sleep hot then you will probably suffer from sleep flinching or night terrors or something similar and you will end up punching (or kicking) her in your sleep and when she goes to church next week with a giant black eye all of your friends will start asking you why you beat your wife. Perhaps Ward and June Cleaver were on to something.
What will it be like being married to someone with a full head of hair?
Expectation: You grew up with a sister (or two) so you know what it’s like to find hair all over the house and in all of your drains. You’re used to that and you can live with it. You look forward to being able to run your hand through her hair and you might even be willing to try your hand at a braid if the mood suits you. She enjoys the short cropped style associated with your service in the military, it’s utilitarian and low maintenance and she likes that about you.
Reality: No amount of little sisters could have ever prepared you life with long hair. It gets everywhere and its always in the way. Oh, you want to kiss on the beach while the breeze is gently blowing? Nope, here’s a mouth full of hair to suck on. Your sweet wife generously does your laundry to the exacting specifications of the military’s standards? Sorry, now you’re pulling hair out of your armpit that is entirely too long to have originated from there. Unfortunately for your wife the genetics that determine hair loss have not been kind to your side of the family. At this point I figure the odds are 50/50, you could have a reasonably good shaped head like your father or you could have you could have a slightly knobby one like your Uncle M, either way, say goodbye to your hair. As for myself, I’m really banking on the fact that my father is the only Filippo with a full head of hair because I already know for a fact that my head closely resembles that of Uncle M’s.
Waking up every morning next to someone you love.
Expectation: You’ll be able to roll over and kiss the woman of your dreams everyday for the rest of your life (or hers, whichever happens to be shorter), could it get any better than that?
Reality: Morning breath is a bear and unfortunately it’s a sword that cuts both ways.
Taking a step back from the satire… well, to be perfectly honest there is a more than a grain of truth to these items, regardless, it is important to address some of the more serious aspects of it as well. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts God has given to mankind and unfortunately far too many people make light of that never understanding the magnitude of the relationship they attempt to pursue. To them marriage is just something you do when you feel good about someone. That is not the way God defines marriage. Scripture talks about an eternal commitment, a bond of which no man should ever separate. There is an air of permanence about it, and entering a covenant that is permanent should never be taken lightly.
Marriage is funny and fun; it is sorrowful and heart breaking; it is hard work and sacrifice; marriage is the union with the one human being who will understand you better than any other human being on the planet. Marriage is a wonderful thing and even through its difficulties (and there will be difficulties) we should understand that God uses it to refine us, to make us better than either of the individuals we would have become without it. Your spouse is and always will be a gift from God, treat them as such.