It’s not just about love; it’s about commitment

Well that’s what my girlfriend / fiance / soon to be Mrs. said about marriage when asked by her mother why she was marrying me. Actually she first said, “because he loves me.”

Truth be told, I’m not sure why she fancies me.

I’m petty and ill-tempered at times. I don’t have any money and no prospects of inheriting any. I’m not in prime athletic condition. I look mean when I’m not smiling, and sometimes I am mean. I can be arrogant and bossy and very inattentive to hers and others concerns.

Trust me; I’ve not held any of this back from her. So it’s surprising that she wants to marry me. She loves me, of that I’m sure, or as reasonably sure as anyone can be about such things, and I love her.

But what happens when all the things I love about her fade? Well, that’s where her words come in. It’s not just about love; it’s about a commitment made to God in the presence of witnesses. Now that’s something you don’t hear much anymore. It’s sort of an old fashioned sentiment, more suited in our minds to an old Victorian aunt giving advice to her young wayward niece than to a contemporary postmodern, urbane, world traveling, interracial couple. But it is true wisdom anyhow, and it makes sense to me, to us.

It’s funny though, when I think of how we’ve come to be a couple together ready to embark on this new phase of life. Nothing about it makes much sense, and yet everything does. I met her online and then discovered that we had lots of good friends in common and actually had been in the same room before and probably would have easily met each other but didn’t. We’ve spent hours and days and hours of time doing all the things that people typically do when they’re thinking of marriage (talking through the BIG issues of sex, money, children, faith, etc.) and little time doing the typical things (gazing into each others eyes, romantic dinners, walking through the park holding hands) people do when they date. We decided on a date for the wedding before we decided we would get married and then planned a strategy to see if it would be a good match. We are by no means a typical couple with a conventional path to marriage.

And yet, here we are. Older than average, both with a heart for missions and cross cultural ministry, both worship leaders, both smarty-pants… and we’re about to get married.

People ask me if I’m excited or nervous or what. Well, yes I am , but that’s not the complete picture of how I feel.

You know those songs, and lines in romantic comedies: “I can’t live without you!!” said or sung breathlessly under a full moon with the skyline of some major city in the background? Well, that’s not how I feel. I can live without Pauline.

I just don’t want to.