“If I could, I’d go back in time and join my younger self in the early morning hours of his wedding day.”
Adaptation from True Companions by Kelly Flanagan
“What You Need to Know”
What if marriage is a singular light within the great general light of companionship, but we keep trying to turn it into the big light itself? What if uncovering the secrets to a stellar marriage isn’t as important as finding our way to the truths at the heart of true companionship?
If I could, I’d go back in time and join my younger self in the early morning hours of his wedding day. I’d ride with him on that empty highway, with that bottle of champagne resting on the seat between us, and I’d tell him things he couldn’t possibly fathom yet. I’d tell him marriage is relatively simple. It’s a signature on a license at the courthouse, a benediction from the pastor, a kiss, a bunch of rice stuck in hair he won’t have for much longer, a rowdy reception, and years and anniversaries rolling by, until one day the rolling finally stops.
But, I’d tell him, companionship is something he already began, on a painful morning of confession to his then fiancé months before. I’d tell him companionship is anything but simple. It’s hard work. It takes guts and perseverance. It’s a long walk through everything: sorrow and celebration, heartbreaking disappointment and heartwarming contentment, all sorts of uncertainty and a moment of clarity here and there. It takes everything you’ve got, and sometimes it gives you back more than you could ever hope for. It is a four-word vow lived out in the midst of our hardest humanity:
We’ll figure it out.
I’d tell him marriage is one very special candle that can burn within the big, bright light of companionship. Friendship is another one, of course, as is the relationship between a parent and a child, or the relationship between siblings. Really, wherever two or more are gathered, a little more light can be added to the great general light of companionship. I’d tell him he has spent much of his life thinking about how to get better at marriage and that might make him better at being married, but getting better at companionship will make him better at being human.
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