My wedding ring has the words Semper Fidelis engraved on the inside. So does Torbjorn's.
Of course I knew this was the Marine Corps motto when we picked it. I so *totally* knew.
But I digress.
What amazes me, fourteen years later, is that the phrase 'always faithful' would strike us - so young, so clueless! - as the words that would define our marriage. I like to think of it as further evidence that even at the tender age of 23(!) we had some instinctual knowledge of what it would take to make a marriage work.
These days, with the Tiger Woods and the Jesse James stories breaking big in the headlines, the notion of 'faithfulness' is getting a lot of lip service. But the word faithful means so very much more than simply 'not cheating on your spouse.'
Take faithful, and take it at face value: let's look at it as literally being full of faith.
Faith is the belief in something unknowable, something for which you may not have proof. Faith is saying, despite all evidence to the contrary, I believe that this is a good thing. Faith, be it a trust in a Higher Power or a trust in your spouse, relies upon a willing suspension of disbelief.
Because we are humans. We will screw up. We may make the wrong parenting decisions, we may make really ill-considered purchases (I'm just saying!), we may say or do incredibly hurtful things.
But a relationship full of faith means that even the worst days are better together - better than a pretty good day alone. Living faithfully means that even in the midst of anger, in the midst of hurt feelings, in the midst of deep disappointment, you have faith in this person beside you.
You have faith in their ability to come back to the negotiating table. You have faith in their ability to see the funny side of it (eventually.) You are full of faith that the time and energy and love invested in this relationship will be the foundation of your marriage and that that is solid enough get you through.
It is really the only way to live in relationship with anyone (spouse, partner, friend, or fellow Marine, even) - if you can't live full of faith, if you can't be faithful, then all you are left with is the suspicion that around every corner is disappointment. Surely this is an impoverished way to live.
This post is linked as part of Bridget Chumbley's One Word at a Time blog carnival. This week the topic is (obviously) Faithfulness. I'm post #41 - that's a lot of writing about Faithfulness!