Catching up on Andy Gray’s blog, I found a really insightful post about marriage.

Practically speaking, marriage is hard work. Of course, you can hear this a thousand times, but when you’re “in love” you’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it doesn’t apply to you. That’s a mistake. It applies to everyone who wants to build a great marriage. There will come a day in the future when you look at the other person and think, “Who is this that I have married?” “What have I done?” And that’s when you really begin something extraordinary. Or it’s the beginning of the end. Hopefully, you’ll be ready when that moment arrives.

If being married to someone from your own culture is hard work, then being married to someone from another culture is harder work. Committment and communication (not the warm feelings of first love) are the keys to making a marriage that will last. But effective communication will require overcoming language and culture gaps — and you may not see the gaps in advance (even if you should). These gaps are significant even for my wife and I. She is fluent in English and quite attuned to American culture, but we still have different ways of seeing and saying things that have deep roots in our identities. We must make an intentional, ongoing effort to communicate to overcome the gaps and communicate well. I can’t imagine where we would be if we didn’t share at least one strong language and culture between us. Or where we would be without our committment to marriage and our common faith?

The post received quite a few comments, and Andy continued to share his insights there:

It’s amazing to realize how easy it would be to get married, isn’t it? You could actually get married this summer. Wow. But after a year or two of marriage, all those exciting feelings will have passed, and you’ll realize that time is one thing you have in very large supply. You will have decades together potentially (hopefully). I’m pretty sure that you’ll eventually wish you had taken more time dating, building trust, working through many issues (including issues you still aren’t aware of).

I’m glad that Sean and I were forced by circumstances to wait awhile before we got married–it gave us a chance to cool off a little and get to know each other. I do think we should have worked a few things out better before we got married. Maybe we should have moved to the same city but waited a little longer before actually getting married. I don’t know.

I do know that I am committed to him, that regardless of my other desires I will stay with him always. Our marriage is a promise to work at our relationship; it isn’t just a piece of paper.