What is the difference between a marriage and a wedding? Would you say it was a simple answer? It must be an easy response for most us, if we were asked the same question. The most obvious is that one is merely an event, while the other is a lifelong commitment.

So how could we measure the longevity, and lifespan, of a marriage based on the wedding? This week I really want to touch on the families/couples who are married in this whole military lifestyle. As we may know, the key to marriage isn’t necessarily getting married, yet it is staying married.

Some of us have witnessed the most lavish, grand and well thought-out weddings down to the detail of fabric. Unfortunately, the same attention to detail and thought in the grandeur of the wedding did not translate to the importance and value of the marriage. Others of us have witnessed the smallest, shortest, yet most intimate weddings, and both man and wife remain married with a decade in. Each of us, for the most part, have an idea of what is required and involved in a lasting relationship; that is work, time, effort and service.

Isn’t it interesting that often times these traits are exercised in the wedding planning stages? We understand the time, effort and patience it takes just to make, and create, the perfect wedding. Yet we have such a challenging time translating that to our real life marriages.

Perhaps those of us who are newlyweds could benefit from this insight. Others of us may need this reminder of the true value of marriage in its entirety. We need to put forth the same energy in our marriage as we do in our parenting, career, health and fitness, and other areas we are working to improve in. As an Army spouse married for nearly 13 years now, I’ll admit that marriage is challenging in and of itself. However, when you add the dynamics of an active military lifestyle, it certainty strains and complicates much of the basic fundamentals and operations.

So, I say that if you’re a competitor, look at the challenge as one to conquer. If you’re more reserved, look at how this can present opportunity for personal growth and insight into who we currently are, who we are growing into and who we have the potential to be.

The wedding is easy, because we spend so much time, money and effort for that one day. Whereas when it comes to marriage, we expend all our efforts one day at a time for a lifetime. May we recall the significance and value of our marriages.

We can all agree we didn’t get married to experience a wedding, but rather experience how we create a marriage.

Lori Ann PALOMARES is an Army spouse and a Killeen area resident.

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