Monday, July 6, 2009

The One-Minute Writer: Sacrifice

Today, on The One-Minute Writer, the topic was too important for me to pass up, so here's today's writing prompt:

What is the greatest sacrifice anyone has ever made for you?
The answer to this prompt hit me literally the moment I read it. Hands down the single greatest sacrifice anyone has ever made for me was when my wife agreed to marry me. Okay, ha-ha, I know that I've joked about it being horrible to live with me, but at the time we were to be wed, I was a special case indeed.

First, there was the age: I was 22, and she was 19.

Second, and more importantly, I was (am?) Mormon. And not just a Sunday, church-going Mormon. I had just recently, like a year before, returned from a two-year mission for the church and was really feeling those Mormon oats. The reason this was especially hard for the wife was that while she had become Mormon, her parents hadn't. This meant that they were not even able to give their daughter away at the ceremony. In fact, the only person at the ceremony close to either of us was my mother.

Why did we do this? I don't fully know. Because it was expected? Partly. Because of faith that blessings would spring forth eternally and that we would benefit because of it? Maybe. But the main reason we did it was because Mormons believe that all who are sealed (read: married) in a temple will be together forever, and more than anything, the wife and I truly love each other and desire to always be with one another. If that meant going down this path, then so be it. She followed me through it all, and the worst thing is I never gave any of it a second thought. I knew I loved her, I wanted to be married, but I never questioned the religion itself. I will forever be grateful for her sacrifice and now think twice before venturing into any decision.

So, four years, no children, and a lot of meditation and tears later, we indeed feel much differently. First of all, we are truly happy to be together and we always have fun. Secondly, we know that as we now look back we realize that we were young and headstrong. Third, I am grateful to her parents for sacrificing their happiness and joy so that the wife and I could make our decisions based on our desires (however different or sideways they may be sometimes).

Lastly though, and most importantly, I'm most thankful that the wife still said yes to me and to us (and still does daily!). Her heart still breaks thinking back on our ceremony and the utter loneliness there was in that room. She wanted it to be different, more familial, but she followed me wherever I was to lead. I'm sorry that I never gave her that walk down the aisle with her father giving her away to me. I'm sorry that I was the cause of so much heartache, but I'm not sorry that we are married. I'm forever grateful for my wonderful partner and love! She truly is my fountain of joy, pleasure, and happiness. Her smile and laugh can drag me out of the deepest, darkest pits, and her tears, though few, rip me through and through every time.

We have since made many different and more thoughtful decisions regarding our joint spirituality and although it most definitely isn't "what mother wants," it is what we want. And that, my friends, is the seat of a happy and successful marriage. I'm sure that we will continue to grow and as we do, the topic of spirituality will always swirl in and out and around our lives, but of one thing I am confident: life is what we choose it to be, always.

*Edit: We've since talked about the marriage and parents issue several times and have decided to do a renewal of vows so that her parents can be there and so that her father can give her away if she wishes. I love that woman!