The Crucible Of Marriage


I once listened to a popular talk show host, known for his biting and satirical humor, speak on the subject of marriage. He is known to be a ‘serial’ bachelor, meaning, he is constantly moving in and out of relationships but never committing to ‘marriage.’ He said, words to this effect:

“They are always saying you have to ‘work’ at a marriage. Well, if it is so good and desirable, why does everyone call it work.”

His trademark smirk then appeared on his face as he looked around. The audience roared their approval as he continued to berate the institution of marriage.

Well, I was offended by his remarks because, coming from a single man, who was he to belittle the union of a couple and the benefits that come forth. Marriage is a crucible! Meaning, as Webster defined it:

“testing circumstances: a place or set of circumstances where people or things are subjected to forces that test them and often make them change.”

Marriage, like many other good things in this life, does require effort and work, if you want to classify it as such. But haven’t we always been taught, and isn’t it logical that the concept of work makes people better humans?

I have now been married for over 40 years and marriage has made me a much better man because of it. Life itself teaches you lessons that should make you a better person but marriage is a unique union that requires the ‘all’ out of an individual.  It requires one to put someone else in front of their own needs and teaches one every Godly attribute found in Holy writ.

More than anything else though, there is something beautiful and joyful about loving someone else. When you travel though life together as a couple, passing as it were through the crucible, you do change. The force of life and marriage develop in you Godly characteristics. Most importantly,  you develop a God like love for your spouse that begins to consume your very soul.

A few years ago I was traveling for business.I was out of town and in my office when through the vents, from another suite,  came the voice of Christina Perri singing, “A Thousand Years.” I stopped what I was doing and leaned back in my chair and listened.

“I have died everyday, waiting for you. Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more. And all along I believed, I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more.”

As a young married man I’m sure that song would have gone right over my head. But, that day as I listened,  tears welled up in my eyes because I missed her, my wife,  and it felt as if I had really loved her for a thousand years! And I wanted it to be for another thousand years. In fact I wanted to love her forever!

I loved her the day we walked out the doors of the temple hand in hand as husband and wife. But not like I love her today. Not after all these years together. Not after raising five children together. Not after all we have been through…together.

Yes, it has been work sometimes, my marriage. But the reward has been great. The undying love I feel in my heart is not something that comes easy to a man. But it is now embedded deep in my heart. And it will never leave me, this love for my wife. And it is satisfying to the soul. It is ennobling.

The crucible of marriage has produced the greatest gift of all. I began our marriage with the simple love that a man has for a woman. But what happened through the years,  is that love changed. Over time the love of my wife has become the closest thing I can come to understanding the love of God. And by so developing, this love has made me happy. Christ taught about this perfect love.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 11-13)

A proper marriage produces that kind of love. It’s not only worth the work, it’s to die for.


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