A marriage is not about a wedding day but a lifetime of shared days and hours, minutes and experiences. It is about friendship, companionship, compromise and selflessness. It is a long term togetherness in all things.
Choosing someone to marry is choosing the person you want to spend the rest of your life compromising with and being selfless for. Your spouse is the person you must trust to tell you when you are being the most selfish; the person with whom you will be at your most vulnerable and your strongest. This strength is not built individually, but together.
This is the person who will stand by you on the absolute worst days of your life. The person who can help lift you up and the person who you must have the strength to help lift. They must be there in your moments of joy and be able to truly and honestly feel that joy with you. They will recognize your greatest strengths and encourage you to keep striving. They must tell you when you are wrong and stand by you when you are right. And for all the gray moments in-between you must come to a consensus that you can both live with each and every day. You must be able to grow and change together as life matures you into older and wiser people.
If you choose to have children, you will see the best and worst of your spouse reflected in them. You must love and nurture both parts as you raise them together.
A shared faith will make your marriage strong, shared interests will make your marriage fun, shared experiences will give your marriage depth, and shared goals will give your marriage a future.
A wedding day is a ceremony to celebrate the beginning of all of these things – the open door to a lifetime together. The marriage is the house you will live in for the rest of your life.