*The Princess Bride. Duh.
Considering what the state of Minnesota requires in order to get married (boy+girl of legal age, enough money to buy a license, appropriate people to sign the certificate), Robin and I were actually pretty well prepared. We’d each lived on our own at least a little. We had jobs. We took a couples class at our church (bonus: discount on the license!). We patted ourselves on the back for being in love and being practical about it.
Because we were a young, straight couple with our families’ blessing, getting married for the first time, I don’t know if either of us really asked ourselves what marriage means to us. People who’ve been married before, or people who have to travel outside their home state or country to legally get married, are naturally more cautious, it seems (obviously not a universal truth – but in my sample set it was).
I’m too distant now from my 24-year-old self to be able to imagine how I would’ve defined marriage back then. I’m sure my answer would’ve been naive, at the very least. It also would’ve almost certainly been wordy. I would’ve wanted to appear that I knew what I was talking about.
Ironically, I feel like I am far more qualified to answer the question today, and yet I’ve been trying for weeks to put it into words, and I can’t. Love, yes. But also that something else that makes you stay even when you’re not feeling very loving. Trust, yes. But also the right to ask a question, if you’re not sure. Honor, yes. But forgiveness, too, because you’re going to mess it up.
See? It’s … less than helpful … as advice to the about-to-be-married (if they were asking). It just makes me wonder whether anyone could ever define it sufficiently. Can you ever really know whether it’s the right person or the right time, or do we just have to … “close our eyes and leap?”