When I was growing up, I didn’t expect that I would ever get married. My parents were deeply in love but also deeply dysfunctional. The rest of my family was rife with divorce–even one set of grandparents was on their second marriage. I just wasn’t sure that love was worth my experience of marriage. I never said anything about it; I just kept quiet and made life plans that didn’t involve love and marriage (Code for: I wanted to be a spy–or an FBI profiler).
Then I met Rich–well saw him anyway. Talk about a life changing moment. You see, I actually experienced love at first sight. He passed me in the hallway back in high school, and I immediately thought “I’m going to spend the rest of my life with him.” It was surreal and wonderful and insane. I ran with that last emotion. I felt like I was trying to talk myself off of a ledge. I didn’t even know this guy’s name. I stayed up until night turned into day trying to talk myself out of this. Obviously, love won. Best. Surrender. Ever.
Why am I telling you this? I want to share what marriage can be. Neither of us witnessed marriage in the way that we are experiencing it now. It’s a big part of the reason it took us eight years to get married. There was a lot of life getting in the way during that time, too, but I think if we hadn’t been so scared, we would have made it happen sooner.
People say a lot of things about marriage. Game over. The ball and chain. Turns lovers into roommates. That’s not our marriage. Our marriage is Fun. Yes, with a capital F. We laugh and giggle all of the time, usually to some inside joke never to be repeated outside of Team Awesome. There’s one–we actually call ourselves Team Awesome. Mind you, this is close to the first time it’s been uttered outside of the two of us. That’s how we feel about this thing we have. It’s Awesome, with a capital A :) It’s not just the fun that makes this so amazing. My marriage has transformed me. That is a statement of epic proportions. The binds of marriage have liberated my true self. I have never felt more at home with being me. When I take a risk, I know that Rich will be there to celebrate the rewards or comfort me through the aftermath. When I am down, sick, or lonely, I know that Rich will be there. When I am crabby, I know that Rich will gently poke fun at me until I crack up and come back to my normal cheery self. When I succeed, I know that Rich will be there to celebrate–as if it’s his own success. Beyond all of that, Rich makes me want to be a better me. This is my experience of marriage.
Beyond that, marriage is what you make of it. Don’t let other’s failures make you shy away. It can be amazing. At the same time, I don’t believe that marriage is for everyone. I’m not a pusher. I just want to share what it can be like when it really, really works. We hear so much about when it doesn’t work. My best advice? Don’t settle on the guy (or gal). If you’re already married, don’t settle for an okay marriage. Invest in it. Cultivate it. Love it.