Marriage isn’t for everyone, but I always knew that it was something I wanted out of life. As a young teen, I dreamed of standing up in front of my family and exchanging vows with the man I would marry while in a beautiful laced white dress and making that most sacred commitment.
Well, it’s been exactly a year since my husband and I exchanged our vows, and I still believe in marriage every bit as much as I did when I was younger. I didn’t wear the big white wedding dress as we decided to have a simpler wedding, and my family wasn’t able to be there for many reasons, but when our big day came, none of that mattered. After all, marriage isn’t about what you wear or who is there to see it, it’s a private commitment between two people. Everything else is extra.
So, why do I believe in marriage? It’s easy for a teenager to say that they do, when they’ve never experienced living with someone or the realities of what marriage actually entails, but after a year of being married, I still know that it was the right choice for me. Here’s why I believe in marriage.
1. Making a marriage work is a choice.
Some people see marriage as a risk because so many don’t work out. While it’s true that throughout the world, tons of marriages end up in divorce every year, I believe that making a marriage work is a choice. In order for a marriage to work, it’s as simple as both people involved deciding that it’s what they want. Marriage requires effort, and if both husband and wife are willing to give that effort, try their best to understand each other, and make compromises when necessary.
It may seem a little bit harsh, but I believe that marriages that fail are largely a result of one or both spouses deciding that the work isn’t worth it and giving up. Every marriage will have a rough patch, but a couple who believes in the commitment that they made will get past it, instead of taking a divorce as the easy way out.
2. There are so many good examples around me.
Sure, we can all name couples who have gotten divorces, annulments, or who even broke off their engagement before it got that far. But there are so many good examples of working marriages as well.
For me, I look up to my own parents. They have been together for more than two decades, and they’re still making it work. They have stuck together through thick and thin, even after my mom got sick and we knew she would never fully recover. After my mom got sick, a coworker told him that he should divorce her and move on, that his life would be easier that way. While sure, life could have been easier if he’d never married my mother, my father valued the commitment that they made when they said their vows and was appalled that someone would suggest a thing. In sickness and in health, my parents have stuck by each others’ sides, and shown that marriages can work, if you want it to.
In addition to my parents, I have watched aunts, uncles, grandparents of mine stay together through decades. I’ve seen my great-grandparents love each other until the day that they were separated by death. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of failed marriages happen as well, but shouldn’t we all hope and believe that ours will be one of the ones that lasts forever?
3. Marriage motivates you to become a better person.
Obviously, marriage ties you down to one person for the rest of your life. But that’s not a bad thing. When you meet the person that you want to marry, you will realize that your husband will give you more reasons to become the best version of yourself.
Done are the days of living in the now, dressing up to impress whatever cute guy you are currently crushing on, or pretending to be someone else to attract someone’s attention. Marriage introduces a newfound sense of stability to your life, and that stability will motivate you to develop yourself in less superficial ways. Not only will you want to become a better person because you think it’s what your partner deserves, being married cuts out some of life’s distractions and gives you the chance to focus on the aspects of who you are that really matter.
Additionally, having a spouse at your side though all of your ups and downs will be more motivating than you can ever imagine. He will be there to encourage you to try your best at something new, and also to hold you close if you happen to fail. Your spouse will be your rock to fall back on, and the strength that you need to see anything through – just like you will be for him.
4. My husband and I prove that they can work every day.
Most of all, I believe in marriage because my husband and I work together every day to prove that they can last. We’ve only been married for one year now, but of course, we’ve had our ups and downs over the year. We’ve had fights and arguments, just as any couple does. But no matter what life throws at us, we have worked through our troubles together. We make an effort to talk about our problems and solve them instead of just burying them until they explode.
As I said before, marriage is a choice, not a chance. My husband and I have both made the choice to make our marriage work, and our actions every day reflect that choice. We constantly prove to each other that we believe in the powers of love and let our love for each other influence our lives.
As an American, when I chose to marry my husband in the Philippines, a lot of people asked if I was sure. “There’s no divorce in the Philippines,” people constantly pointed out to me, as if I didn’t know. The concept of no-divorce didn’t scare me at all, however, as I’ve never believed in allowing divorce to be an option. In cases that involve domestic abuse, that’s another situation, of course. But other than that, I believe that every couple has the potential to live up to the promise they made when they say their wedding vows, I believe that marriages can last forever, and I believe my husband and I will be one of the lasting couples – simply because we believe in marriage.