Friends, what is the nature of marriage? Is it a compact between two loving and self-willed persons, an unshakable pact and firm symbol of the esteem and commitment that composes the bonds between two souls? Is it an accident of history, where religious rites have infused themselves into an insane bureaucracy? Or is it a dark and sinister accord with demonic forces, vowing terrible vows and paying unspeakable costs for knowledge beyond the ken of Man?
You may consider these to be facetious questions. You may reconsider, though, when times get tough. Love can sometimes be a casualty of the difficulties we all encounter in life, and there may be moments when, for whatever reason, you find yourself questioning the wisdom of marrying your partner.
Make no mistake, you undoubtedly have a great many happy times ahead; however, the strength of a marriage is measured not by its quality during the days of wine and white roses, but by its coefficient of friction; by its endurance through the bitterly cold nights of a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter-preferably with plenty of roasting of marshmallows.
There are those who believe that "Marriage is NEVER easy". That "You must work, and work HARD, in the years to come if you wish to preserve this beautiful, important union that you are forging today."
This is not true! Marriage is easy and glorious as a full gallop in full armor! Either you will slip easily into the rhythm, or you will slip and fall and be crushed like a beetle in its own exoskeleton. If, for some reason, two people are having a difficult marriage, they are just the wrong couple, or they have the wrong rhythm, or they're using the wrong tactics.
Marriage does not come to you with a rule book. Instead, you must work together and shape your marriage to fit your needs. Marriage is an institution which should adjust itself to the needs of individuals and not the other way around.
Here are some simple guidelines you might try (and who knows if they'll work?) to experience a fulfilling marriage:
I challenge you -
I DOUBLE DOG DARE you - to do these things, and do them well. If you do, your marriage will take on a steely strength of its own that will support you when one or both of you are feeling weak. And when whatever hideously diabolical toad-creatures that life has to offer (and I don't mean kids), finally spring forth upon you seeking to devour your flesh, you may find that the love you hold for your partner will bolster your souls and drag you back from the stark howling pits of insanity. (Not that insanity doesn't have merits of its own.)
John and Gina, I wish you a long and happy union.