In the 2004 film, Shall We Dance, Susan Sarandon’s wife character says about marriage, “You're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things . . . all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.’”
I love that.
Most of us have the blessing of others in our lives who bear witness to them, and many of us have as our primary witness the person to whom we are married. I have trouble considering many aspects of marriage more profound than that of witness. The fact that someone promises to “see” you, always, especially if they understand that promise as a lifelong commitment, is mind-blowing. And understanding how devastating it can be when, for some reason, spouses no longer “see” each other is crucial, especially as we strive to support dear friends and loved ones who divorce.
I think the wife in Shall We Dance had it right. (Also, the role of the husband was played by Richard Geer, but that should be beside the point for this discussion.) I’ve been married for, uh, a few decades, and I could tell you about my marriage, or everything I think about marriage, or what I think you should know about marriage. But what I most want to say is this:
Whether you are new to marriage or, like me, have been married for approximately eons, ask yourself what the idea of bearing witness to a spouse’s life means to you, and what you think it mean to others. And if you are unmarried, what does bearing witness to another’s life mean in your relationships, now or in the future?
Well, all right. I also have a post today on The Glorious Table in their marriage series, which is why I was thinking this much about marriage in the first place. You can find it below: “The Lists No Marriage Should Keep.” Enjoy! But seriously, think about this idea of witness too. Or at least watch Shall We Dance.
From The Glorious Table:
The Lists No Marriage Should Keep
This might come as a shock to any of you who are still completely starry-eyed about marriage, but no such partnership lives out its life in perfect harmony. You and your spouse will have what I’ll call differences. And even if you got many of those differences out on the table in premarital counseling or by reading the latest book on marriage a few weeks before your Big Event, the day-to-day realities of wedded life are going to reveal differences you had no idea could be lurking about while your heads were in the clouds.
Read more here.
photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=121484&picture=dancing-couple