An article has recently been making the rounds on Facebook, shared by many a person—married and single. It’s titled “Marriage Isn’t For You,” by Seth Adam Smith. And it’s truly something everyone should read.
“Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me,” Smith writes in the opening sentence of the article. The sentence itself is confusing—if it’s not for him, why is he married? Is this a breakup story? Will that beautiful photo of he and his wife kissing be an ironic tribute to love that wasn’t so true, after all?
“Now, before you start making assumptions, keep reading,” he adds next, piquing curiosity. At this point, the reader knows that the article won’t be what they expected—even if they don’t yet know what it will be about.
Smith goes on to talk about his experiences leading up to marriage and after. He and his wife were friends for a decade before becoming more than friends. But even after having known her for so many years and being deeply in love, he was still terrified of the idea of marriage. Was she the right one? Was he ready? Would he be happy with her?
He went to his father with those concerns, and it was there he got perhaps the best marriage advice ever.
“Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy… you’re marrying for a family…for your future children… Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
It’s not that you shouldn’t keep your own happiness in mind; it’s that when you marry, you have to be willing to put the other person’s needs and happiness before your own. Together you love and honor each other, selflessly giving and, as a result, receiving.
Marriage has to be two-sided if it’s going to work. When you marry, each person has an obligation to the other, and unfortunately today’s culture constantly repeats the message that it’s all about you—your happiness, your needs, your life. Marriage changes, or should change, that.