Ah, the beloved nuptials. A time when two enthralled hearts bestow their undying love to each other with ceremonies, paperwork, pretty dresses and tuxes—and an enormous amount of upfront expenses.
Marriage is a business. Marriage is a commitment. Marriage is supposed to be lifelong and forever more. Marriage is the epitome of tradition and the joining of things beyond the obvious love.
I used to be married.
I am going to share the upside and the downside; because just as in life there are always shadows to accompany the light, the puddles to flow with the stream, the smoke that happens when the afterglow has faded. The constitution of marriage is partnership and alliance on all fronts, at least that is the beckoning of old-school traditions.
My first marriage was a best friend kind of deal. We were in our early 30s, doing the dance of mountain biking and running together, buying real estate to flip together, taking our dogs everywhere together, watching each others’ backs in most situations, meeting new couple friends and conducting dinners and gatherings for all occasions, climbing mountains, going to the beach, we did it all.
Somewhere along that rosy road we became too busy and distant. The paths we merged on together somehow took a detour. Our friendship remained intact, but the intimacy and emotional component took a nose dive. It was a piece of the marriage puzzle I began to learn about and wanted to delve into more deeply. My husband was more into checking out in the evenings with the remote and working too much. I started to work more as well, and engaged in conversations with different people who sparked an interest in where I wanted to go with relationships. I definitely brought my stuff to the table, and it wasn’t always what was needed at the time, but I am a partnership sign under the zodiac, so I was striving for more than just how many properties we could buy and make money off of. I wanted some strong emotional connection, and I was getting it from the youthful energy at my health club versus the man I was sharing my life with.
This is probably the biggest conundrum to marriage: when one partner is in discover and learn mode and the other partner thinks nothing is wrong with the way it is.
Change is so necessary in marriages, and both partners need to be willing to look at the ways they are growing—both as a couple and on their own. Each person has to support the other for the marriage to succeed. I say this rather strongly because it took me down another road to a shorter liaison in couplehood and commitment.
My second marriage was a total rebound, and a soulful one at that. How I met my husband, where we locked eyes and stories, was something completely out of romance novels. Both of us were blown away by the familiarity of our hearts from the get-go.
He traveled more than he was home. I was more into being alone post first-marriage than I was being in a committed partnership. I had no time to myself to process the first failed marriage prior to entering into another commitment. I repressed everything from my voice, my power, and my emotions.
We took a trip down divorce lane just shy of two years.
I feel that a marriage can only be successful if there is a strong sense of self before the “I do’s” fly. The bad stuff seems to outweigh the good stuff when you are mired in what is wrong with the blame and shame game. It can be a vicious cycle if not held in check. It took me about six years to recover from marriage number two, but after busting up some long held beliefs on what marriage means and the beauty of two people committing their lives to each other, I can focus on the positive aspects of the tradition.
Let’s now take a peek at the beauty of the organized partnership because there are many things about this cherished act that deserve a nod. Whether you decide to take a trip down the aisle or not, here are some incredible positives about the sanctity of marriage:
1. That commitment that gives you a piece of mind in sickness and health.
2. Waking up each morning with your significant other knowing that the strength of your union will outlast any petty disagreements or arguments.
3. A reduced risk of “exiting stage left” when things get tough. Better to talk it out or seek help through professional means than to just leave. Marriage involves sticking together.
4. Financial decisions seem better when two people are investing their hearts and minds into the outcome of bettering their lives.
5. You always have someone to pick you up and drop you off at the airport.
6. At the end of the working day, there is always a willing ear to share your woes and celebrations with. Even when you are tired and cranky, your marriage partner knows you inside and out and loves every bit of your emotional self.
7. Nothing is ever left unsaid between the two of you, as marriage solidifies the feeling that the realness is accepted and revered.
8. The family possibilities grow through childbirth. Whether that is a path for you in marriage, it certainly is one of the strongest reasons to get married. Giving new life to another is your greatest gift.
So there you have it, the upside and the downside of being married. Often there are no manuals for each individual couple on how to do it, and whether it is right or wrong. You simply have to trust your gut, love each other beyond your wildest dreams, agree to disagree many times and on many things, and be aware of each others’ hearts. The heart is so fragile, and marriage can strengthen that beating bond when respect, understanding, compassion, kindness, and BIG time love are thrown into the equation.
[image: via lindsey child on flickr]