Son I love you. I love you very much. I love your mom too. And this reminds me, you will marry one day. You must remember to love your wife too. It is a love that will reward you. It will also be a love that will test you.
Marriage is a strange institution. You sometimes feel institutionalized and liberated by it. Like any institution, you are expected to know your own way around. The front door is the most obvious way in. There is always a welcoming door mat waiting for you. It's your first step into this marital institution.
That front door represents looking for that special one. She will come to you eventually. It's not the time it takes that should concern you. Neither her looks nor her status in life. It is her character. That is something not readily visible. No one wears a placard stating "I am a crook" on their chest in public. You will just have to court her. You will have to discover. But be prepared for changes as you embark on this marital journey. What is generally characteristic of someone may become uncharacteristic of him or her after tying the knot.
So, living together is nothing more than discovering together. Son, falling in love is a matter of the heart. You will one day be confronted with the life-transforming choice. And when you make that choice, you must remind yourself that you are making it for life. When you say I do, you are saying I do to her virtues and her flaws. It is not an ala carte exchange of vows where you can select what you can endure with, and what you can't.
Marriage is not chewing something and then spitting it out just because it tastes weird or unpleasant. No, marriage is chewing, swallowing, digesting and yielding to whatever that you have taken into your system will do to you. Marriage is not infatuation or an experiment. It is a lifetime commitment. This has to be your mindset before you walk that aisle and enter into matrimony.
As you enter the front door of this institution, you come to an inviting cavernous hall leading to a long corridor of many rooms. If I may push the metaphor a little further, that living hall is where you guys learn more about each other. And it will take many decades. It is the personal space for you guys to chat, share, joke, praise, encourage, admire, sort things out, discuss, hug, dance and act silly together. It is a fun place to be in because it is a place you guys are doing things together, deepening the relationship, and learning to renew your love daily.
Son, never neglect this living hall. It is the one place you guys must always be in because this is the place you guys celebrate your togetherness in the marriage. Never underestimate the power of doing things together. It is during such time that your love for each other will grow strong enough to weather all storms that comes. And they will come.
Now after this living hall, you proceed down the long corridor leading to different rooms with one other important room at the far end. I will talk about that room later. These different rooms represents the many challenges you guys will face in a marriage after the honeymoon period is over.
Son, for you, there is a temptation room, a room of career advancement at all costs, a room of monotony/routine, a room of personal pride/ego, a room of disillusionment, a room of quiet desperation, a room of doubts, a room of self-prosecution, a room of inadequacy, and a room of disappointments. This list is non-exhaustive. I expect your wife will have largely overlapping rooms.
The point is that you cannot resist the lure of these rooms because marriage will compel you to face them all and not escape from them. It is just a matter of time before you succumb to the bait of life and enter each room in the order peculiar to your life. That's the test, the challenge. That's how you guys either grow deeper in love together or go your separate ways.
Son, your dad has entered his share of these dastardly rooms. At times, the lure is irresistible. The secret is to never stay in any of the rooms for as long as it is necessary. Always find your own way out and don't dwell in them for too long. The temptation, the ego, the monotony, the disillusionment, and the disappointments will sometimes stretch you beyond your limits of resilience. Don't give them the time, the chance and the opportunity. Don't underestimate their hold on you.
During such time, never forget to exit the rooms swiftly and take the long walk of self examination and reflection along the corridor. Focus on the good times, on your vows, on your commitment, on her strengths, and on the reason why you fell in love with her in the first place.
Then, find that happy fun living hall. Invite her over. Be persistent. Don't give up. Do what is usually done by lovers in that living hall. Share an intimate kiss, apologize if you are wrong, seek to understand her, fight for her love, shower her with assurances and live them up, share your fears and hopes, and never leave that huge hall until you have found a deep connection with her.
Then, remember that other room at the far end of the corridor I told you earlier? That's the room you should also visit as regularly as possible. It is the matrimonial bedroom. This is the most intimate room of a couple. And the most private one in this institution of marriage. It is this unassuming room that lives are conceived, nurtured and treasured. It is also this unpretentious room that true love is embraced.
A marriage cannot possibly thrive without the couple converging in this room to relive the moments of unalloyed intimacy together. This room is magical because its healing powers works deeply the moment you guys decide to enter the room. And it works completely when the two becomes one spiritually, emotionally and physically (in that order of importance).
So, my son, love your wife. Love her at all times, good or bad. Never neglect the fun hall, the meditative corridors, and of course that special room at the far end. And when you do, that is, love her deeply, longingly and unconditionally, you will discover that you too will change. And you will change in a way that your own children will be most proud of. It is a transformation by love, to love and for love. And there is no greater or more enduring reward than a life completely transformed by love. Cheerz.