Lawdy. We’ve hit the motherload with this one.
I’ve noticed an interesting trend among
crotchety older people over the last decade when the subject of divorce comes up. Overwhelmingly their reaction takes on a “kids today” tone with gems like:
- Divorce is far too common. In my day when we got married it was for life.
- Everything’s disposable to young people these days. Even marriage. Once it loses its shine they move on to something else.
- They just don’t take commitment seriously. Marriage vows are supposed to mean something.
I suppose my take on all of that would be this. I’ve never met anyone who spent their childhood thinking, “I want to be divorced when I grow up.” And while I try not to work in absolutes, I feel confident stating such a person doesn’t exist. So I call shenanigans on that whole allegation of generational marital laziness.
Seeing as no one’s looking to get divorced, I thought I’d put my two cents in on the matter of marriage.
So you think you’re ready to get married…
First things first – let’s look at why you want to get married. May I gently suggest the following are not great reasons for making a lifelong commitment to another human being.
Sex. I’ll simply point out that legally having sex doesn’t depend upon having a valid marriage license and leave it at that. (Please note: I’m addressing adults here. Mama didn’t raise no fool. I’m steering way clear of the moral discussion on sex before marriage for young people, thank you very much.)
Financial security. Sure, marrying someone flush with cash may seem like a good way to live the easy life. Best case scenario, the question of why you got married will never come up. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up trapped in a marriage with no way to support yourself if you need to leave. Either way, no bueno.
Family pressure. So what if all your cousins have already found life partners. So what if you’re a decade older than your parents were when they got married and you’re still flying solo. So what if your younger sibling is expecting their first child. Come on, everybody, say it with me: So. What.
So you think you’ve found the perfect partner…
And now you’re in looovve with all the swooning and starry eyes and walking on air and you’re never ever gonna feel about someone else like you feel about them so you’re gonna get married. Whoop-dee-doo! Let’s answer these questions first.
Do You Want Kids? Discuss amongst yourselves. This issue should not be tabled “until we’ve been married five years” because five years in is not the time you want to learn the person you’ve married refuses to parent or is willing to divorce you for someone who wants to procreate. Figure it out now, for your own sake.
Will you want to kill this person if forced to share living space 24 hours a day? More accurately, will you be able to resist the urge to kill this person? Nobody gets along 100% of the time, but you really have to want that togetherness to begin with if you hope to weather the inevitable oh-my-God-would-you-just-get-away-from-me moments.
When the sh*t hits the fan, as it always does, will this person be in your corner? Will they be by your side slaying dragons? Regrouping with you? Bringing you margaritas if necessary? Or will you have to carry their ass over the finish line as you jump your hurdles? Life’s hard, the race is long, and you need a partner, not dead weight.
So you’re actually gonna get married to the perfect partner…let’s talk commitment
Yeah, marriage is beautiful and powerful and the stuff of Hallmark moments. It can also be taxing. Here’s the skinny.
Yes, you still love them. Even when you’re fighting over a dirty dish or just want to be alone, for the love of all things holy. Marriage is not cherub joy as you romp through life joined at the hip. Embrace that.
You get to be you. And part of a “them.” You get both. Becoming part of a permanent couple doesn’t erase you, and being you doesn’t erase the couplehood. You’re expanding your repertoire, so to speak. Be comfortable in both skins.
Be your true self and expect everyone around you to accept that. You don’t get to decide fishing/golfing/solitaire is a waste of time, just like they don’t get to decide pilates/tennis/Candy Crush is pointless drivel.
This is part 4 of the “so you want to know” series. You can check out part 3 about getting a pet here.