Did you ever find yourself married to an awesome blog post title? Sometimes you’re so committed to the name, yet somehow, the words to back it up don’t flow. That’s what just happened to me.

I came up with this fantastic question. Do you want to know what it was?

It read: “Does marriage have a shelf life?” Isn’t that a thought-provoking question? It even had a picture to run with it:

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I love the bottles of different shapes, colors, sizes, clarity or opacity, and age, with the labels that could represent expiration dates. It fit perfectly.

And then…nothing. Everything I wrote sounded wrong. Everything.

So I decided to write this post instead. Because suddenly it occurred to me that the reason I have nothing to say about it is because I don’t have a say about marriage as a broad term. And neither does anyone else, really.

It took me many years of preaching, advising, and guiding friends, and friends doing the same for me, to realize that nobody can determine life-altering decisions for someone else. Not even a seasoned therapist.

Many times I found myself telling friends in “bad” relationships to consider getting out. Only I didn’t say it that way. I’d say: Get out now. That’s how sure I felt over their awful predicament. And you know what? Some of them stayed and worked it out. Others didn’t. The bottom line: it wasn’t my job to tell them.

Even though the advice came from a well-intentioned place—all the while looking out for my friends’ best interests—there is no way that I could know the many healing processes that actually rumble under the surface of strife, conflict, anger, or even depression.

Sure, it’s difficult and painful to go through those times. And so hard as a friend to stand by and watch someone suffering. But then I thought about it like this.

If I knew that my child had to endure falling, getting up with a bloody knee, starting over, and doing it again, yet at the end that child learned how to ride a bike like a pro, would I stop them from getting hurt?

The answer is simple. Absolutely not. I’d know that getting hurt melded into the rubric of learning something wonderful. Empowering. Necessary. Evolutionary.

In this case, point A to point C is readily apparent. In life—not so much.

The main thing is: don’t marry yourself to a title that has no substance. And make sure to catch it before committing.

Photo credit: RosemarieHughes/Etsy

 

 

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