Most of my life I have been questioned about finding the right girl. Relatives will leave familial hibernation to probe this very issue. Marriage, “the climax to growing up”… Why can’t there be smaller events to get people excited on Facebook? Like buying flannel sheets or reading ‘War and Peace’? Because of this I have begun contemplating a photography career. I would specialize not just in weddings and baby pictures but in sweet sixteens, chicken pox, honeymoons, vows to celibacy. Magnifying the overlooked celebrations could give family and friends more to talk about.
A lot of my friends have already reached their marriage climax. It’s strange at first. The individual you know, forever accompanied by another. I find it puzzling – like a human person inside of a woman’s belly. Soon, with their children, they will look like a Sega RPG game where everyone meticulously follows the leader (Cup you know what I’m talking about). There is also that small chance that your friends will never be seen again. This part sucks. The person they love was secretly a holographic portal to a black hole. I think we can all agree marriage shouldn’t be the elimination of community but a gift and ability to love people better. Swag.
I think I am however beginning to understand why marriage is so invaluable. It’s paradoxically the emptying and fulfilling of an individual. C.S Lewis notes in Four Loves that,
“The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church – read on – and gave his life for her (Eph. V, 25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is – in her own mere nature – least lovable.”
“Most like a crucifixion.” That sounds horrifying. It’s not though. Like Christ, its loving someone more than life. More than pain. More than yourself. Thomas Merton, a prolific Catholic monk, writes in regards to love:
“True happiness is found in unselfish love, and therefore, the potential happiness of such love is without limit. Infinite sharing is the law of God’s inner life. He has made the sharing of ourselves the law of our own being, so that it is in loving others that we best love ourselves.” (No Man is an Island)
We are created to find ourselves in another. Marriage isn’t just a relationship – it’s a spiritual formation – it’s communion with God. The more I empty myself to my beloved the more I will see His face in hers. The more I will share in “His inner life”.
This isn’t a call to masochism (Jeff :)), but a narrow way that leads me down to the marriage altar. Perhaps my relatives were right in their eagerness. They noticed that my greatest fulfillment, greatest climax, would be in giving myself completely to another.