“Your husband is so nice to you. You’re soooo lucky!”
This must be the most common comment I’ve heard and if I get a dollar for every time I hear this, I’ll be very, very rich. (Pardon the cliched analogy.)
This comment frequently comes up when we talk about my cancer ordeal. Many people commended Keith for sticking by me while I’m going through the toughest time of my life one month into our marriage. And they said I was lucky that I had married someone who didn’t leave me in times of trouble.
To set the record straight, I think I have a wonderful husband…
I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I love him dearly, and he loves me back, and I know there’s no one else better than him to fill the role of “Mr. Right” in my life. This being said, I don’t attribute marrying him or what he’s done for me to “luck”.
Winning the lucky draw? Yes, that’s luck.
Walking one step ahead before the bird decided to poop at where you were standing? Luck.
Catching the bus although you were late because the bus was also late? Yes, luck!
But marrying Keith? No, not luck.
Keith and I were colleagues for some time before we started dating. And while we were colleagues, there were many things about him that stood out to me. First of all, he’s the Mr. Nice Guy that got along with everyone, never played politics, and was always helpful and enthusiastic. He’s also meticulous, a keen and fast learner, extremely humble, and had a shrewd business acumen. While we weren’t romantically involved when I noticed these traits, I think they set the right stage for our impending relationship. It is important for me to be with someone that I could look up to, and that I could respect.
I have dated many guys (non-exclusively) before I dated Keith. And I think I’ve met enough people to know it when it “clicked”. Very quickly during the courtship, I could tell that Keith was someone who is very serious about his relationship when he gets into one. He was very interested to know more about me, about my values, and what I was really like. I was serious too. So we asked a lot of right questions during courtship, even before we were dating exclusively.
The Catholic Marriage Preparation Course that we attended helped us a lot too. While a lot of people go for the course only when wedding plans have already been made (you need the course certificate to book a church wedding), we made the conscious decision to attend it even before he proposed. To us, it was a “marriage preparation” course after all, so we wanted to make sure we have discerned properly, know that we are both prepared spiritually, before we even make any wedding plans. Keith proposed shortly after we finished the course, and I said yes without hesitation. It was a simple decision because the course and the time spent dating him had helped me recognise that he had the traits that I wanted in a husband: rational, dependable, loyal, forgiving.
What he’s “done” are part of our vows
The Catholic wedding vow is beautiful because while it’s succinct, it encompasses everything that a marriage should be: I, (name), take you, (name) to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honour you, all the days of my life.
“Not leaving me” while I was sick is really just basic 101 for fulfilling his vows. In fact, he has vowed to be “true to me” and to “love and honour me” no matter what. This is what a Christian marriage is about: it is a reflection of Christ’s love for His church, the husband represents Jesus in the marriage, and the wife, the church. Will Jesus ever leave the church even when she’s “sick”? Of course not. He will continue to love her, perhaps love her even more. Keith is called to uphold this high standard of Christian marriage life. It’s in our vows. (The wife has her part to play in Christian marriage too, but that’s a story for another day.)
And very fortunately or perhaps, unfortunately (pun unintended), it’s a vow that we have to make a conscious decision to say yes to every single day. Sometimes we may forget that love is not an adjective, it’s a verb. This means that you need to put love into action for love to happen.
So I’m saying again, I’m not “lucky” to have married Keith…
…because marrying him was a choice that I made. And I discerned very thoroughly before I said yes to marrying him. It’s not luck, because it was a calculated, well-considered decision. And it’s not “luck” because what Keith has done – and he would also agree to this – is what he has vowed to do before God, me, and our loved ones. And as the man of integrity and honour that I know him to be, I know he will keep his vows.