Marriage is a choice.
Just as living life on purpose is a choice. I certainly wouldn’t be getting married in a Karen hill tribe village in Thailand and hosting a 22 person group honeymoon if my wife and I weren’t able to make difficult choices of commitment with an immensely long view in priority. There were many short term difficulties on our journey that have thrown so many relationships off their axis of commitment.
My wife was denied entry into my country twice. We spent more than 25 months apart over the last 3.5 years. Figuring out, funding, and navigating the immigration process became my side hustle. In a year in San Francisco where I was already working 75 hours a week towards masters, teaching license, and People of Purpose, choosing to commit to Noknoi meant sacrificing sleep, friends, and investing in the community.
Pursuing purpose is not always easy. It’s not even always desirable.
When we had spent $2000 booking a trip to America, consulted several attorneys, and wrote carefully crafted letters only to be denied her first visa to America for the second straight time, I found myself face down on my bedroom floor crying.
I was spent. I felt I had invested everything into our love and we were destined to be apart indefinitely.
The easier, logical, realistic decision would have been to break up and take the dream yoga and mindfulness teaching job I was offered in the Bay. It would’ve been much simpler than the decision we made to get engaged, for me to move back to Thailand, to have the faith to dive full-time into entrepreneurship because I wasn’t in a stable location to have a job.
On those lonely December 2018 evenings on my bedroom floor in San Francisco, I didn’t know at the time I had it in me to commit to such complex choices without any guarantee for them to pan out.
Choosing to marry Noknoi required much more than just love and passion. Much more than hopes and dreams.
I couldn’t intellectualize the choice with a book or relegate the relationship as a “side project” I’ll eventually get around to. It required mutual consistent commitment and sacrifice to begin a long, complicated process that one year later allows us to finally merge our lives together.
I’ve learned that committing to a life of Purpose has similar challenges. It’s so hard to know or even believe at times there is a purpose for your life. The only way to make purpose come alive and thrive is to commit to it. You have to take consistent leaps of faith following that feeling which you know is pure, right, and true. And you have to know deep in your core that a belief in a higher purpose will continue to break through ceilings and illuminate that next rung of your purpose. This choice, commitment, belief, and faith in purpose will, in turn, provide you with the resources, resolve, and strength you need to fulfill it. Always.
As I stood in front of 300 people watching my bride walk down the aisle with her parents and a parade of singers behind her, I understood the immense gratitude and blessing that exists from committing to such a grand and holy journey. 5 years ago I found myself heavily concussed, broken up, depressed, and cold in a Minnesota winter. This week I found myself in a village 7,000 miles from where I grow up with my best friends and family at my sides as I gave gratitude and made jokes in Thai to all the warm-hearted Christian villagers in my wife’s hometown.
My path of purpose took tremendous trust in saying yes to what God put in my heart...
To move across the world to teach in Thailand, and that decision has now led to the most special commitment, ceremony, and celebration of my life. Marriage and purpose are one and the same.
Choose to marry your purpose and let the rest figure itself out. Soon your next vow of purpose will emerge and you’ll be ready to say “I do”.