On April 3, 1988, Pontheolla and I wed, vowing, “In the Name of God…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.”
Today, I commemorate, confess, and celebrate.
In commemoration, I remember thinking twenty-eight years ago that the bright hope of marriage expressed in our vows would endure forever, for we, trusting in our intentions, needed and wanted little, really nothing else to accomplish them.
In confession, I recognized soon (perhaps within a day!) that my thinking was wishful, not-very-deeply-reflective-or-realistic and that I had fallen prey to the delusion of marriage as magic, requiring little labor of learning and evolving. (I should have known better, but this sentimental illusion about marriage, what it is and how it works, is ages-old, deep-rooted, and society-wide.) I also confess (even worse, for I did know better!) that I thought marriage magically would fulfill my sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious Pygmalion-esque desire (common, I believe, to human relationships) to shape or reshape Pontheolla into my image.
In celebration, I rejoice that I was wholly wrong, for since April 3, 1988, I have come to know that:
- Hope is not wish-filled expectation, but rather the conviction about the truth of one’s vow only as it is renewed daily by faithful effort, through which
- Marriage is a circadian labor of love, that unconditional benevolence, mirroring God’s love, that selflessly wills to be and do the best for another (thus at those moments when my stubborn, selfish self is ascendant, marriage is hardest labor; for it is difficult, nay, impossible to be self-sacrificing when self-seeking!), because of which
- Pontheolla is a God-given, God-graced person and woman; thus the imago Dei, the image of God incarnate in her is freer and fairer, finer and fuller than any (even the best) of my imaginings, for the sake of whom
- I, as a God-given, God-graced person and man, alway am being made freer and fairer, finer and fuller than any (even the best) of my imaginings of who I have been created to be.
As God grants me breath, I look forward to what may be and become…