I have talked to a few older and more experienced people about marriage because the extent of my knowledge - no matter how elaborate it may be - is theoretical at best.
There are those who have mastered the art before I can even utter my first word, so to think that I know everything about marriage, just because I attended a few classes here and there, would be a huge mistake.
As much as the elders need the zeal of the youth, the youth needs the wisdom of the elders.
Among my many conversations about marriage, one that plants itself deep into my psyche is the meaning of "I do" - the phrase that I will say to accept a woman as my wife. What does that phrase means to me and to her?
On a surface level, it means pretty much the same thing for the man as it is for the woman. It means that I am now her husband and she is now my wife. We are lawfully and officially wedded. It is the beginning of a new chapter in both of our lives, one with countless and unpredictable challenges.
It is the beginning of many ups and downs.
On a much deeper level, however, the phrase "I do" takes on a rather profound meaning in my opinion. It is profound in the sense that it is such a simple statement but it embodies something so weighty.
To me, the phrase means responsibility and sacrifice. It means responsibility, especially on the part of the man, and it means sacrifice, especially on the part of the woman.
The responsibility of the man is to make sure that the woman is taken care of properly; to put her needs before his and to treat her with utmost compassion even in rough times.
Such a responsibility shouldn't be taken lightly.
When her father hands her to the man, the man carries the father’s trust – a man's promise to another man. A promise to love and to nurture, to lead and to support. A man is only as good as his words; if his words are empty, he is empty.
The sacrifice of the woman is to put her full trust on the man of her choosing, and to put him above the men in her own family, particularly her father – her guardian since birth.
Such a sacrifice shouldn’t go unappreciated.
The woman leaves her family to build her own, with the man of her choosing. She stands by his side and builds their home brick by brick, using the blueprint taught to her by her father and her mother.
I see “I do” as more than just a phrase. It’s the beginning of a very long and tiring journey, where one needs the other in order to keep going until their final step into their resting place – a place they set out to reach.
“I do” is more than an ending to a cheesy love story.