Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Full of it

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!

10 comments:

Cheryl said...

Lovely writing, as always..

Bridget Chumbley said...

The headlines are full of UNfaithfulness as you mentioned. It's so sad and discouraging!

This is a great post about what marriage (or any relationship) requires... there is so much more to faithfulness than not cheating on your spouse.

Thank you for the timely reminder.

Glynn said...

Good point -- faithfulness is less about what it's not -- cheating onyour spuse -- and more about what it is -- and it is indeed "full of it." Great post.

LoveFeast Table said...

Beautiful and well said! It is a walk of faith, every day! Cause, you look around at what you thought were good marriages, falling apart. What makes ours different? Why have we been so fortunate? We try and never take a moment for granted and live with the faith that we will grow old together and watch our grand babies grow up!! 16 years...and just getting started!
~kristin

katdish said...

Very nice. Being faithful - full of faith - must be intentional.

Lisa said...

I look back at myself in my 20's and wonder what I knew back then, and if I had made some of these big life decisions (like marriage), would I have chosen well? I think the fact that you and Torbjorn have made that initial rush of attraction and love into a stable, intentional, lasting relationship speaks volumes about your characters. I'm so glad I know you now and get to read your thoughts on this blog.

David Hughson said...

C'mon Kirsten! Where was this post 4 wives and 12 kids ago? I'm screwed now! I was there when you and T started dating. Torbjorn and I were even roommates for a brief time. Are you telling me you both knew about this faith thing then? Neither of you once mentioned it to me! I'm pissed!

JoAnne Bennett said...

You made some great points Kirsten. In all the years I've been married, I haven't really thought that maybe that the grass would be greener on the other side. I am sure it's because of your sentence, "But a relationship full of faith means that even the worst days are better together - better than a pretty good day alone." Thanks for sharing!

Harold of Scaggsville said...

Semper Fi all you wonderful husbands and wives.

The Redhead Riter said...

Lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

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