Who You Marry Matters

When Caleb and I were dating, we spent a lot of time at his parents house playing the Wii. Although I preferred the "girly" games that didn't show off my lack of gaming skills, eventually we'd get tired of tennis and bowling and basketball and he'd want to play Super Mario Brothers.
Now don't get me wrong, I can hold my own when it comes to ATV Offroad Fury 2 (yes, it HAS to be 2), Tony Hawk, or Twisted Metal, and very few people on the planet can beat me at SingStar. (Sensing a theme here? We had a PS2, and that's about as far as my gaming skills go.)  And although I realized SuperMario Brothers isn't a super difficult game, I still struggle. Bad. I am just not coordinated enough to run, steer, and jump on that 2D plane, and when those giant Venus Fly Traps on steroids start biting at you, I just panic too much to reasonably handle the situation.

It's ok, I'm not upset. I'm good at other things. And hang in there, because I DO have a point.
The point is, we would eventually end up playing this game and all I would do was drag us down. It didn't take long for Caleb to figure out that I wasn't going to be the turtle-fighting companion one desperately needs in the Nintendo world. I wasn't the Luigi to his Mario. It was enough to break up any good relationship.
If Caleb was any other guy I've ever dated, things at this point would have gone one of two ways:
1) He would demand that we spend the next several months practicing until our fingers ached. He would yell, mumble, and roll his eyes whenever I somehow missed that jump and fell to my death. He would be frustrated that this is not an area I excel in.
OR
2) He would go back, turn the game to 1 player, and suggest that I watch him play, or maybe go make him some cookies while he plays, because he "needs to beat that level."

Instead, he did something completely unexpected. Caleb figured out how to pick me up (I should note, this function is supposed to be used to pick up someone and then throw them) and he carried me through the whole level. I was in a serious fit of hysterics watching this cute, tiny Mario carry cute, tiny Toad to safety. At the very beginning of the level, he would run to me, pick me up, and then proceed to make it through the rest of the level with me sitting on his little mustached head.
video

I realize you can take this story many ways: the serious gamer is probably appalled that I would give him such a gamer's handicap, but I think it perfectly describes my marriage, and why I fell in love with Caleb in the first place. First and foremost, he takes care of me. He never complains about how much harder I make things for him, he just wants me there, along for the ride.
There was a time I thought I would never be able to end up with someone like Caleb. I dated someone for almost 2 years who only treated me good for maybe 2 weeks of that relationship. Then, one day, I was sitting in Testimony meeting and this younger guy in our ward stood up to bear his testimony. He had this cute wife and a bunch of darling kids, and he spoke about them with such love. I watched him and my heart sunk, and I distinctly remember thinking, "I'll never have that, because I'm with so-and-so." As soon as that thought hit me, it was like I was lifted out of a two-year trance. I suddenly realized how much I was settling, and how poor my self-esteem must have become to stay with someone like him despite how unhappy I was. After we broke up, I went through my "I don't want to get married" phase, which every 20-something girl these days at least pretends to have, and I dated a few more not-the-ones before Caleb came along. I remember thinking that I could never trust someone enough to marry them, because every boy before had broken my trust. I had a lot of ridiculous relationships that are the topic of another blog post, someday. But I just couldn't imagine there was a guy out there worth all the trouble. 

Well, Caleb was worth all that trouble and then some. I know this is the most cliche thing I could possibly say, but he really did make all those bad relationships worth it. I can't tell you how many times a day I just stop in wonder at how I ended up with someone so great. Our relationship is one of my favorite things about my life: I love the way we talk to each other, the way we don't fight, the kindness we have toward each other.
Here is my other point: the sanctity of marriage is, and has been for some time now, under attack. What I have is not what we are supposed to want anymore. You are supposed to want a career, money, and a life of being single. A marriage isn't about a marriage, it's about a wedding. Little girls grow up dreaming of their wedding, a brief, one-day affair that is over before you can have a slice of your own cake.
The other day I saw this David's Bridal Commercial that kind of shocked me. I get that they are just trying to sell dresses here, but it so perfectly describes the way we view weddings these days: it's all about the bride. She's the Princess, and everybody better bow down to her. The wedding isn't about him it's not even about both of them it's about her. No wonder the divorce rate is so high.
I remember when I was younger asking my mom something about her wedding, if she was nervous or something along those lines. What she told me is something I have never forgotten. She said, "I just couldn't wait for the wedding to be over. The wedding was just an obstacle to get to him." I just thought that was the cutest, most romantic thing I've ever heard. And whether I realized it or not, I think it profoundly affected my own wedding day.
Don't get me wrong, I loved our wedding day. I have very fond memories. But the days that have happened since then have all been exponentially better. I am so glad that I never stressed myself out about wedding plans, I'm glad I didn't ask our parents to spend a fortune or alienate lifelong friends so they would wear the dresses I picked for them. Our wedding was a party, a celebration, the day we became a family.

Marriage isn't about choosing the "hottest" person who will choose you. It's not about giving up your dreams or your career to become a housewife who drives her 10 kids to soccer practice in a minivan. It's not about having a spectacular celebration where you are the highlight of the whole day. It's about finding someone to spend the rest of your life with. Someone who sees you without makeup and doesn't even see a difference. Someone who will pick you up, even when you're being nothing but a burden, and carry you past all the flying turtle shells to the finish line.

4 comments:

  1. I love this!!! We need to have a singstar war ;)

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  2. This brought tears to my eyes, very sweetly written.:)

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  3. I loved it. It always makes me happy to see you two together (joyous is a better word to describe it) and happier that my relationship is like that with my wife Sarah now. Very understandable to a video game player like myself as well.

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  4. Loved your cute Mario Brothers analogy. It is very true. I'm sure you do your fair share of carrying at times as well. :)You are a good fit.

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