Friday, 16 May 2014

An Empty Apartment

A few weeks ago, as Brandon and I were packing up the last few boxes of our things and loading them into the truck, I found myself thinking of when we first walked into our tiny little apartment. We had just returned from our honeymoon and were freshly married when we climbed those steps and turned the key for the first time. The apartment was dimly lit and we found ourselves standing in the living room, giddy with excitement, holding the first few bags our hands had grabbed from the car.

We weren’t sure how all of our wedding gifts would fit in this little house but we were excited to start unpacking, decorating, and settling into life together.

As I let my memory wander back to this day, I thought of how marriage is very much the same as walking into an empty apartment.

There is a common belief that the gift of marriage holds with it everything good and exciting in life. When you get married you will be fulfilled, happy, and satisfied. You will finally be able to just be together, live together, and all of your dreams will come true. Alright, this may be exaggerating slightly, but there is this idea that by saying ‘I do’ you receive the keys to everything you have wanted and expected.

It is like you receive the keys to a spacious apartment that is already beautifully furnished with everything you love.

And yet, this common belief is really not the case. It is not marriage at all that contains any of these things but rather your capacity to carry these things into marriage.

Marriage does not contain love, you do. Marriage does not contain growth, you do. 

Your marriage will be filled with the boxes that you choose to carry into it and open up. You are in charge of the decorating. You decide which wall to put the couch on. You are the one who will burn the first batch of cookies in it.

Marriage is what you consciously decide to let into it not what is already there waiting for you.

Our little apartment was cozy and quant – a perfect place to house our first two years of marriage and last two years of university. And our marriage, well, it is full of love, challenges, flourishing, and empowerment because we have intentionally done the heavy lifting, the long nights of painting, and the rearranging of the furniture.

Just as a home will change over the years, so will a marriage. Our apartment looked different when we moved out from when we first moved in, just as our marriage looks different two years later than what it did when we were fresh newlyweds coming into our first home.

And so, if you are about to get married, just married, or have been married for years, look at what you are bringing into your home, see if you need to move around the furniture, but don’t expect to walk in to a full house.

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