Chaplain Chats

Because there are many homes that our students come from my hope for this article is to grow our Kennedy community to produce the next generation. I hope this short story I read a few years ago helps us grow our young people.

I met my wife Kim in high school when we were 15 years old. Ten years passed and Kim was my closest friend, and we joyfully made the decision to marry. Strangely, the closer we got to the wedding; the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy? Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad, and the conversation that followed I will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile, he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish, to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family, for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Peter Chase
College Chaplain • Pastoral Care

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