One of our engagement pictures. Circa 2006/2007
Matt proposed to me on August 12, 2006. We had been dating for 6 years and while young, we were ready for the next step of marriage. It was a very romantic proposal. I left work that evening and found a rose with a note on the dashboard of my car. The note was actually an invitation to a dance at a beautiful pond nearby where we had often had picnics and spent time together. In the pond was a tiny island with a bridge that led to it. When I pulled in I saw that the bridge was lit up with white lights and candles and as I walked closer, our song began to play. I crossed over the bridge to Matt where he asked me to dance and began telling me super sweet things about me and our relationship. He also told me that he loved me, which is something we had saved for our engagement and got down on one knee to ask me to marry him. After we spent some excited time with each other, he brought me to dinner at a fancy steak house where they brought out a ginormous chocolate cake in celebration of our engagement. We then went back to Matt’s parents house where both of our families were waiting for us and we all celebrated together.
It was definitely one of the best nights of my life and one that I will never forget. Over the next 11 months (no, I do not recommend an engagement this long) we planned not only our wedding but our lives together for the future. There was a lot of fun involved — planning the ceremony, picking the bridal party, dreaming up the reception decor — but there was also a lot of work involved too. I don’t mean just the work that it took planning a wedding while doing 15 hours of school and working 40 hours a week. No, I mean work on us. Work on us as a couple and making sure we really DO.
“I do” is the phrase most associated with weddings. It’s said after the vows and is a simple two words that bind a couple together for life. At least, they are supposed to. Unfortunately the “I do’s” often become “I probably will” or “Yes, as long as my needs are met.” When asked if the couple is committed “for better or for worse” the answer at the altar is always “I do” but the lives led after are not so convincing.
“Will you marry me?” and “Do you take this man/woman?” are two of the most important questions you will ask/be asked in life. While the excitement of marriage and the wedding are enough to merit a “yes” or “I do” answer, there is often not enough thought given to what that commitment means.
Before agreeing to marry someone and saying “I do” at the wedding ceremony, please consider what you are truly agreeing to. “For better or for worse” can mean a lot of things, but here is a few ways it could manifest itself:
- “I do agree to love you, even when you refuse sex.”
- “I do agree to stay married, even when I find that you are bad with our finances.”
- “I do understand that this is forever, even when our child is born with special needs.”
- “I do, even if the fighting seems like it will never end.”
“I do” is not “I do until…” or “I do as long as I’m happy.” It’s “I do, now and forever.” I do is not a one time commitment, but a daily one. A constant choice to love another more than ourselves and never leave that commitment, no matter what.
It sounds intimidating and in some ways, it is. But if it were not at all intimidating for someone, I would worry that this person may not be ready for all that they are putting themselves into. I would worry that they are not fully understanding all that this commitment really means.
But while it can be intimidating, it is also an incredible blessing. It’s a beautiful commitment created by God, that brings joy that few other things from this world can bring. It’s purpose is beautiful, and the benefits are too many to count. “I do” brings a weight of tremendous responsibility, but even more so it brings incredible freedom.
- “I do mean that I am here for you, as you are always here for me.”
- “I do promise to be excited each day waking up next to you.”
- “I do look forward to growing old with you.”
- “I do love you, now and always.”
- “I do care, and always will.”
Matt asked me to be his wife nearly 7 years ago and I officially said “I do” 6 years ago. These past 6-7 years have brought challenges, heartaches, and frustrations. But these years have brought even more times of happiness, joy, and laughter. We choose “I do” each and every day and that has made all the difference in our marriage. Going against that commitment is not an option and because of that, we only look forward to the future instead of questioning the past. Marriage is not always bright and beautiful, but it is forever consisting of joy and promise. Especially when we truly choose to say “I do”, and mean it.