“We don’t need a marriage license to show our love. It’s just a piece of paper!” I have lost count of how many times I have heard this over the years. “It’s just a piece of paper.” Those who say that often declare that they are doing their own thing. They are being different… Not adhering to the norm and so on. They don’t seem to realize that they've just stopped being like one group to act like another group. They are like the people who wear spiked hair to be different. They are not different. They are just like everyone else who wears spiked hair. With some of everything being done by so many different people, it is very difficult to be different. And living together without being married is hardly “different” these days.
“It’s just a piece of paper” they say. The deed to your house is “just a piece of paper.” Your apartment lease agreement, your car registration, your check on payday, your driver’s license and so many more things qualify under the title of “just a piece of paper.” But you make sure that you have these in place, and you are very protective of them. High school diplomas, certificates of completion, college degrees are all “pieces of paper.” But, they are highly valued. Shouldn’t you value the most important relationship in your life at least as much as you do your house, car, or level of education?
Our marriage certificate gives my wife rights to all of my “stuff.” If I should die before she does, she is protected. Unmarried couples don’t have this protection unless they draw up a lot of legal documents. And if they are going to do all of that, they may as well get married. It is a lot simpler. When you sign any contract, there are conditions that you have to live up to in order for the contract to remain valid. The contract in essence gives you a goal to strive for. A marriage contract is no different. There are terms. You agree to love, honor and cherish each other in good times and bad times; in sickness and in health; whether rich or poor; until death do you part. That is the goal that you are shooting for. You want to live up to the contract. We lived together for three years before we got married. We thought we loved each other and we did. But, once we took the marriage vows and got the “piece of paper,” we found that the old love was but a mere shadow of the love that developed once we were married. There is no comparison.
My marriage license is a symbol of the love and life that I will share with my wife until the day that I die. It is just a piece of paper that declares to the world that I am my beloved’s and she is mine. It’s just a piece of paper that is a symbol of a relationship that means so much more to me than the wood and plaster of a house or the tin, plastic and rubber of a car. It’s just a piece of paper that reminds us of why we are together when we want to go… So we stay, and build, and grow. It’s just a piece of paper that gives her access to a place and space of peace and rest in me… a place where only she can come.
It is just a piece of paper that says that I will live up to the commitment to love my wife no matter what happens in my life. It’s just a piece of paper that I take seriously. Because of that piece of paper, I have joy. It IS just a piece of paper. But, it is the most important piece of paper that I have.