Iron, Candy, and the Crucible:: Celebrating Six Years

In a few days, I will be celebrating six years of marriage (known as the “iron” or “candy” anniversary). Below is an excerpt that has given me great guidance in the journey so far. Definitely food for thought, whether we are married or single.


“Marriage is the closest bond that is possible between two human beings. That, at least, was the original idea behind it… It was to transcend every other form of human union on earth, every other covenant that could possibly be made between two people. Friendship, parent-child, master-pupil- marriage would surpass all these other bonds in a whole constellations of remarkable ways… Socially, legally, physically, emotionally, every which way, there is just no other means of getting closer to another human being, and never has been, that in marriage.

Such extraordinary closeness is bought at a cost, and the cost is no other more nor less than one’s own self. No one has ever been married without being shocked at the enormity of this price and at the monstrous inconvenience of this thing called intimacy which suddenly invades one’s life. At the wedding a bride and groom may have gone through the motions of the candle-lighting ceremony, blowing out their own flames and lighting one central candle in place of the two. But the touching simplicity of this ritual has little in common with the actual day-to-day pressures of two persons being merged into one. It is a different matter when the flame that must be extinguished is no lambent flicker of a candle, but the blistering inferno of self-will and independence. There is really nothing else like this lifelong cauterization of the ego that must take place in marriage. All of life is, in one way or another, humbling. But there is nothing like the experience of being humbled by another person, and by the same person day in and day out. In can be exhausting, unnerving, infuriating, disintegrating. There is no suffering like the suffering involved in being close to another person. But neither is there any joy nor any real comfort at all outside of intimacy, outside the joy and the comfort that are wrung out like wine from the crush and ferment of two lives being pressed together.”

The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason, 89-90.



  yenyenchiu wrote @

I remember this book fondly, and it is a great thought-provoking book…but the way it was introduced to me was a slight turn-off. Yucan had brought it along on our honeymoon, raving about it, and encouraged me to read it. In the intro the author is in a solitary place experiencing and struggling through deep doubts about his upcoming marriage. He then shares about the very realistic, but also more negative approach to marriage being about suffering. I wasn’t sure why my husband of two days was so excited about wanting me to read this. Being a woman and new wife I wondered if he was hinting about something. At least we got to practice developing good communication skills!

  Belisarius wrote @

Ohhhhh, Yucannnnnn! I do hope you’ve learned a little bit on romance skills—namely what NOT to do at a romantic time! I’m so sorry, Yen, for you. Unfortunately, it also sounds like some of the “bonehead plays” that yours truly has done in the course of my marriage—Gail is a great forgiver. It’s like in the movie “Sabrina”, where Harrison Ford is berating himself while his mom, brother, and friends are sending him to Paris to chase down Julia Ormond–he says, “She must hate me!” His mom replies, “She’ll forgive you, we always do!”

Here’s to 6 years of successful forgiving, Yen. Stay at it, Yucan, my brother. As Gail would tell me, “If you keep working hard at it, in a few years you might even be adequately ok in the romance department!”

And, by the way, seriously….Congratulations!!

  ames wrote @

Hi Yucan,

We didn’t get a chance to say hi but it was really good to see you yesterday (did you see me?) – unfortunately, the circumstances being what they were. I sort of considered you my pastor during college so I really liked hearing you speak again. I guess every now and then I need a dose of fellow alumni to satisfy my moments of nostalgia. It looks like God has brought your vision for Ethnos to fruition. I remember you sharing that vision with me my sophomore year. Do I still get to be Children’s Ministry Director? ; )

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