I recall being about seven years old when one of my neighborhood friends and I began discussing the frightful notion of growing up and never getting married. Looking back, it seems odd to me, especially considering we were so young, far from even approaching puberty. Children have difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality, therefore I suppose our hours of viewing cartoons and Disney movies must have done a fantastic job of creating an expectation that if we did not someday find our princes, our lives would be forever incomplete.
Upon reaching my 21st birthday, all of the little old ladies at my grandma’s church gradually began asking me when I was going to get married. Some ladies would say with a wink, “Well, somebody is missing out, honey.” Others would look at me with a puzzled expression as I told them I wanted to do more with my life than just become somebody’s wife.
I began to realize the expectation to be married often creates an urgency which then distracts people from what the true deciding factors in regards to choosing a mate should be. I have to wonder, why is there this expectation and judgment? What for, and, most importantly, who for? I refused to fall for it.
Beware, For The Whisper Shall Become A Raging Roar…
Your soul is always going to whisper your truth back to you. You can only fool yourself for so long. If you get married because of some expectation to do so, or because it is what all of your girlfriends are doing, your truth will eventually emerge, perhaps angrily, under however many layers of convincing it took for you to follow through with it. Your soul wants what is best for you and if you try to silence its voice, eventually the whisper will become a raging roar. If you’re dying to be married, it is a clear indication that you must first begin to deepen your love for life.
Prior to meeting my husband, I had a series of committed relationships beginning just after high school, each with little break in between. The possibility of marriage was often discussed. One of my boyfriends actually tried to convince me to elope with him as our relationship crumbled apart. I suppose he wanted to believe that marriage would wipe all of our issues away forever, but despite my wisdom to permanently leave the relationship at the appropriate time, I knew better than to marry him.
The truth inside would not allow me to rest in such a decision. Each time it presented itself, my truth emerged, rather frantically. There was always a big, fat, emphatic banner marked “NO!” flying high inside of my mind. Had I ignored it, I would have allowed a portion of my truth to wither and die. I would have betrayed myself.
In a few months, I will be celebrating my three-year wedding anniversary. Approaching that small milestone has me thinking about the notion of marriage in general. The reality is, I love my husband passionately and in a way I have never loved prior. When I look in his eyes, I know he is by far the best friend I have ever had. However, people must understand that even the coziest marriage is not warm cookies and milk every hour of every day.
Marriage is not a steamy love scene every single night. It’s not always a chapter plucked from a romance novel, feeding each other berries and making out for hours on end until your lips are chapped and swollen. It’s not always the wind in your hair and hot breath on the nape of your neck. Sometimes it is all of those things, but not all day every day. Gaining a husband does not guarantee having all of your worries washed away forever. I promise you. If you believe that, you need a long, ice cold shower of a reality check.
Having a husband will not complete you. It will not quiet the truth inside. It will not wipe the tears of your heart’s cry. It will not silence any storm inside of you. It will not increase your worth or complete your life’s mission. It will not paint the sky blue forever. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry to tell that it just won’t.
Can You Handle the Truth? Fasten Your Seat Belt.
You’re not just marrying his charm. You’re not just marrying his wit. You’re not just marrying his blue eyes that sparkle in the sunlight. You’re not just marrying the subtle smirk that makes your stomach flip every time you see it. You’re not just marrying his architecture, earth-shattering as it may be.
You’re also marrying his spending habits. You’re also marrying his idiosyncrasies, including the annoying ones. You’re also marrying his knee-jerk reactions, his insecurities and his worst days. You’re marrying his family. You’re marrying his character. And, you know what? He is marrying all of yours, too. Bless him, right?
Even the most promising and compatible of circumstances will consist of trying times, so it would not be wise to commit to something you will be unable to live with for years to come. For example, if you are a passionate animal rights activist, it would not be wise to marry an unapologetic carnivore, regardless of how magical of chemistry the two of you share. If you hate the smell of patchouli, you are going to be in a great deal of trouble if you marry someone who loves bathing in its oil.
There is no White Knight Waiting at the Top of the Hill…
A husband is not a savior. He cannot be your zen. He is not a white knight waiting for the perfect day to ride in. He is not an idea to be romanticized. Some nights I have tears in my eyes because it feels as though there have never been two people more in love than the two of us. Some nights the fireworks light up the sky effortlessly, however some nights, especially when the stresses of life get in the way, I have to consciously participate in creating them.
Loving, honoring and cherishing in good times and bad is not always the easiest task. Sometimes your ego will tell you to take the selfish way out. My life is undeniably more joyful, richer and sweeter since marrying my husband, however it is not perfect. There is not a person on the planet with a perfect life.
So, before you get married, take off your rose-tinted glasses, wipe the fairy dust from your eyes and take an honest look at him in the light of reality. Do not allow yourself to die to your truth. Forget what society says is the norm. Forget how many of your friends are getting married. Forget settling. For a moment, forget the notion of feeling like a princess in that extraordinary dress you saw on Pinterest. Forget the possibility of doves flying above your head. Marriage means dedicating your life to another imperfect human being.
You Are Better Off Alone Than Married To The Wrong Person…
Marry him because when his heart connects with your heart, it feels like a call from home. Marry him because you feel confident in his character. Marry him because he inspires you to be a higher version of yourself. Marry him because you trust his brain. Marry him because he is the only person you foresee wanting to eat puréed potatoes with when you’re 90.
I’m just being honest.
©TheDailyDoll.com/Lacey Johnson 2015
A newer version of this article has now been published on The Huffington Post, and can be read here.