A decade ago, I stood on a stage and promised some things to a woman. She promised things back to me and now here we are, ten years into this formally arranged, mutually beneficial, income tax classification journey.
Of course, a marriage is more than legal designation, just like it's more than love. The commitment that comes with a partnership is rare. Most of us commit to things that are bigger than two people. We commit to schools, teams, companies, neighborhoods - the commitment that marriage offers is one of equal-ness. A 50/50 arrangement means that a lot of decisions can end in a tie.
You'd be crazy to enter into this kind of arrangement.
I thought about making a quick list for you, to tell you the secrets of how to get married or stay married. I also thought about some nice bullet points to tell you what I've learned since 2004.
But I got nothing.
Many days, I don't know how I've kept it going this long. If you really knew me, the idea of us living together probably isn't that appealing. Decisions I make about music, travel, food, TV, clothing, bubblegum - it's enough to drive most people crazy, I imagine.
Marriage, then, is most often the linking up of one person's crazy with another's. The two of you decide that you're going to push all of that insanity to the middle of the table, show your cards, and see what you come up with together.
So far, my crazy and Lynnette's crazy has birthed and raised a child, created a home together, seen its way through several iterations of entrepreneurship, traveled, sang, hosted a church in our home, written books, blogged, failed, ran, mourned, laughed, cried, danced, slept, and created a love that bursts through our very hearts to the point of indescribability.
But the best part about marriage - at least for me - is the possibility of a tomorrow.
Marriage means that whatever happens today, tomorrow, someone will be there. That's the promise we made in a church that used to be a grocery store ten years ago. We both promised that, and whether we go to bed happy, angry, hungry, exhausted, elated, or confused, when one person wakes up, the other one will be there.
Yeah, the other person is crazy, but they're mine to be crazy with.
You don't get married because you just want to sleep with someone, or it makes economical sense, or someone's pregnant, or it's been long enough, or why not, or it's expected, or it would get you on TV, or you're lonely. You get married because you're crazy.
You're crazy in love, you're crazy not to, you're crazy to imagine any other life without this person by your side through the births and travel and celebrations and graduations and tears and triumphs.
If your crazy and their crazy doesn't line up, walk away. You may think you're good together over dinner or while at a romantic locale or when watching a movie. But marriage isn't about eating or love letters or photographs in a field where you're each wearing white shirts and dark denim.
It's about being crazy.
I went insane 12 years ago when I met someone. I haven't gone back.