Before getting married, I worried about a lot of things. And maybe not the ones you’d assume.
1. I worried I’d feel trapped. Forever sounds really inflexible. But instead, it’s liberating being with someone you don’t want to quit on.
2. I like knowing I can quit any time (then counter argument in my head goes like this: “you can still quit a marriage, Maggie. Remember, you’ve done it before!). It’s actually empowering to be in a relationship because you want to be, and I love that I got to stand up in front of friends and family and formally make that intention.
3. Being a 2x divorcee sounds really bad. Is that even true? I always congratulate women when they’ve been married several times. I assume they’ve learned and grown along the way. And more importantly, who cares what other people think?
4. Alone time is severely limited, and I like alone time. This one is true! But if you pick a partner who needs the same kind of alone time, or who respects your need, alone time is still possible.
5. I assumed married folks took each other for granted, and I worried I’d get lazy in that same kind of way. I actually appreciate and love him more now that we’re married. Go figure.
6. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. True confession: Sometimes I want to eat a bag of tortilla chips and binge watch Law and Order SUV episodes without anyone knowing! The truth is, I gave up the “doing what I want” thing right about when I had a kid, so that was an easy adjustment.
7. You have to consider someone else ALL THE TIME. You have to do this when you live together, whether you are married or not…but there was this feeling that if we weren’t married, I could quit the whole “being considerate” thing anytime. The fringe benefit here: you have someone considering YOU all the time, too!
8. I worried I would have to be the best version of myself… and sometimes that’s exhausting. Marriage is actually the polar opposite. He takes me for me. Even when I watch Law and Order SVU and eat an entire bag of tortilla chips… he still loves me. I get to be loved FOR me. All of me.
9. I like to go against the grain. I like to zig when others zag. This is true. But I figured, we had the kid first. Then got married. That sure ain’t traditional.
10. I also like variety and excitement; I worried marriage (and long-term relationships in general) would get boring. Wrong! Our relationship has continued to evolve and grow and is exciting and interesting for different reasons than when we first met. Maybe more so. And it’s much more satisfying and gratifying playing the long game.
When I read over this list, I see my character defects – laziness, selfishness, impatience, impetuousness, slothfulness (tortilla chips in front of the TV!). I also hear so much fear underneath the feelings. Fear of failure; fear of being wrong; fear of what others think; fear of missing out (FOMO!!), fear of being stuck in a lousy situation; fear of changing my mind, fear of quitting and what that might mean; fear of my husband changing his mind, and quitting on me; fear of being vulnerable; fear of showing someone my imperfections; fear of what he might think of those imperfections.
And the biggest fear of all: fear of intimacy.
It’s a wonder we find willing partners at all, given the baggage we usually bring to the party. So when you find that right person, lock it down. 😉