Today, I came across this image on the internet:
I don't know if it's a true story or just fictionalized to make a point, but I like it. We absolutely live in an age in which items are made and purchased as cheaply as possible and meant to be replaced on a regular basis. I have an iPhone that I fully expect to replace in two years, when my contract tells me I can for something like $40. I know that's the norm and I absolutely take part, but think about it for a second. This little magical box the size of a deck of cards, which can surf the internet and hold days worth of music and take and send videos, technology that we could hardly imagine a decade ago, is now considered replaceable within two years.
On the other end of the spectrum, Joey and I will be bringing to our new home my grandparents' favorite armchairs, still in beautiful condition despite their age. These chairs were built in a time when furniture was consistently made to last, when families would purchase one vacuum cleaner and use it for decades. If things broke, they would be repaired, not replaced. Remember cobblers?
The house that I currently live in has had several significant problems over the last two years of my inhabitance. I have done battle with the gas and electric company because the wires were crossed and mislabeled, installed a door handle on an exterior door that was just missing that rather important piece of equipment, and crafted a kitchen island out of mini-fridges, plywood, and tile. Most of the people I have lived with have deemed this level of disrepair unacceptable and moved out after a single year of residence. I certainly cannot blame them for this, since they are merely renting, not buying, so for them the effort to fix the problems is simply not worth it. I, however, chose to stay until I move to Omaha this May, dealing with the issues as they come up and taking perhaps a little too much pride in my little home projects.
Joey's and my relationship is not perfect. It is wonderful and sweet and magical and special and a million other happy (if painfully cliché) adjectives, but I will never claim it is perfect. Sometimes I get irrationally upset over completely unimportant things. Sometimes Joey has difficulty seeing my point of view. Sometimes we live in different states, or on different continents. But I never want to just give up and look for a new, shiny relationship that hasn't had time to develop broken hinges or scuffed edges. Every disagreement, every misunderstanding is an opportunity for us to learn more about each other and show that we care about each other even when things aren't sparkly and easy. Of course it's much nicer when things go smoothly, but I take pride in the repairs we are able to make when we need to make them.
I am marrying Joey because I think he is the best one for me. I believe that we have built a beautiful relationship on a solid foundation. I believe that our relationship and our plans for our future life together as husband and wife embody the perfect combination of careful thought and romantic whimsy. I believe that, despite all this, we will find bumps and cracks and forgotten essential elements. I believe that we will be able to smooth out the bumps, fix the cracks, and build all our essential elements together if we remember that some things are not disposable and replaceable.