So I’m sitting at my computer wondering what to write for Thursday Threads, reading before me an almighty brouhaha.

“You can get married after just a few weeks,” says she. “No! Wait. Get it right. Don’t go into marriage on a hunch,” says he. (Both great posts, btw).

Fearfully, and with much trepidation, I’m going to offer one other thought, out of resignation that unless I write about something connected to the murky world of relationships, it’ll be like inviting people to my poetry recital on the same day as the royal wedding. No one will really care about anything that comes out of my mouth.

Personally, if you really pushed me, I’m afraid I’m going to have to side with “he” in this instance: marriage matters too much to rush into it and emotions are never reliable gauges on which to make such a momentous decision – though let it be said that there’s an awful lot of research out there which indicates that arranged marriages fare better and last longer, and my own story of taking my time was based more on my own issues and fear of commitment than wisdom, so I can see both sides. (And, of course, let’s not forget Jesus, who knew I wasn’t very good inside, but pursued a relationship with me anyway).

But, perhaps, when it comes to marriage, there is one thing that is both more important and on which I have a hunch (!) that both ‘she’ and ‘he’ will agree: How you finish matters more than how you start.

When psychologists talk about ‘love’ they tend to list three primary components: passion, intimacy and commitment. It’s the latter, the least sexy (and the least risky), on which I’m hanging my hat.

The simple fact is that in any relationship, however intoxicating and heated it may start, there’s going to come a point when it doesn’t seem so romantic, probably on some rainy Thursday in November when it’s your turn to take out the bins. THAT is where love comes into it’s own.

Looking back at photos of me on my wedding day, I have to confess that’s as dashing as I’ve ever looked. I only possess two suits, both of which are ripped, so to see me looking so smart was really quite something. Seven years almost to the day (yikes, I’d better buy a card), my hairline has thinned, my waistline expanded, and my breath first thing in the morning could kill a small horse. The fact that someone might love me now is a most potent dynamic and doesn’t half bring with it a shed load of security.

Even if I made a total Horlicks of getting into marriage, that’s not an indicator of the strength of love, nor does it mean I’m doomed to fail. Commitment is what counts.

And, dare I say it, to those of you who are utterly bored by reading yet another post about relationships, commitment is also a most compelling quality in your work, your neighbourhood, your friendships, your hobbies (something I’ve written about before on this blog: Growth: The slow, the secret and the unspectacular).

There is an ideology which states that if something is tough, too hard, too unpleasant, then walk away, quit, abort, jump ship, take the path of least resistance. It’s a load of rubbish. If you want to be the best you can at something, including having the best kind of marriage, then work hard and don’t give up, whether you got hitched after a few days, or a few years.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow’.” So says author and poet Mary Ann Radmacher. Superb quote.

Leaving the fury of the above debate behind, however you have, are or will get into marriage, if you live that quote out, you can still have the most sparkling relationship.


Photo credit: johnhope14 via flickr cc

Written by Andy Tilsley // Follow Andy on  Twitter

Andy Tilsley is one of the leaders at ChristChurch London and writes crime thrillers in his spare time. He lives in Sutton with his wife Joy and three children, Brody, Mia and Amelie.

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