Marriage Is More Than a Contract

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Ethan and I were married a week and a half ago, in a sealing room of the Mount Timpanogos temple. It was a beautiful, intimate ceremony, with maybe a dozen guests. The sealer taught us what a blessing it was to be married in the house of the Lord, and told us to make our own home a house of learning, peace, and love. He taught us that we should try to make our own home a temple to our God, and that we should care for one another the same way the Savior would.

The sealing over, we went to take pictures. We were both so happy – nothing had gone wrong, nobody was nervous, and everything was perfect. The luncheon went much the same way. And when we got to the reception, there were goofy pictures at a photo booth, kids with coloring books and pinwheels, space to dance, little smoked sausages, and all around, no worries. (Thanks, Mom!) Our wedding day was perfect!

Until I went out for air. I thought I was just hot from dancing, but when I got to the hallway, I still wasn’t feeling good. And then came the day of reckoning. As I knelt in front of the toilet, I thought, “Well, I guess I danced too much. If this is all that goes wrong, it’s still a good day.” At least, that’s what I thought the first time. As the technicolor yawn continued, I realized something was wrong with me that went beyond swing dancing and Little Smokies. I lay on a bench in the hallway for a while, smiling at guests but generally feeling feverish. After driving the porcelain bus a bit further, it became clear that I was in no shape to cut cake or toss a bouquet.

Ethan drove me home early. Mom and Dad gave the flowers to some neighborhood families, and found a worthy cousin’s birthday to donate the cake to. Small children got the pinwheels. Another reception received sparklers. The caterers gave us some to-go boxes, and some friends put the gifts together so Ethan could pick them up later. And I stayed up all night clutching a bucket, wishing our wedding night was a little more romantic.

At about 10 am, I stopped throwing up. About an hour before that, Ethan started.

As miserable as it is to puke your guts up, we were blessed with the timing. Just at the point Ethan was no longer able to stand, I was. I still wasn’t holding much down, but I was able to move around, get dressed, knock on our neighbors’ door for help and a priesthood blessing, and take care of Ethan. After about 12 hours of vomiting, Ethan started looking desperate and suggested we go to the hospital. I was well enough to drive him to the ER, and sat sipping Gatorade while he got an IV and two bags of saline to keep him from dehydrating any further. Happy honeymoon!

About halfway through the night (while I was still tossing my cookies), I apologized again to Ethan that he had to spend his wedding night taking care of a sick woman. He looked at me, puzzled, and said, “That’s what I’m here for. That’s why I married you -to take care of you.” And I remembered why I was so certain that I’d married the right man.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen taught that there is a difference between a contract marriage and a covenant marriage: if a man and woman make a contract, they agree to the terms of the contract. They each hold up their end of the deal. If the other member breaks contract, it is no longer binding. But in a covenant marriage, they each hold up one another. Contract companions each give 50 percent; covenant companions each give 100 percent.” I have faith that our marriage is going to last – not because of how crazy in love we are, but because we both intend to love and care for one another even while everything around us hits the fan.

On Friday night, my new husband laid his hands on my head and gave me a priesthood blessing. Our wedding night was not the romantic vision most young couples have, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen or felt love to match the look on his face as he made sure I was going to be okay. I know we’ll make it, because we’ve based our relationship on real love – the kind that cares for one another even when it’s most inconvenient. And now that we’re both on our feet again, I’m excited to be married to my best friend, who’s taken care of me from the start. I thank God for a covenant marriage, and a husband who gives all he has to keep us together!

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2 thoughts on “Marriage Is More Than a Contract

  1. Pingback: Praying for Humility | Lancing a Windmill

  2. Pingback: God is bad at math | Lancing a Windmill

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