I’m not expert at relationships. I don’t even say that to predicate something more profound. I might be smart enough to avoid relationships with people who aren’t healthy for me, but avoiding unhealthy relationships in no way guarantees knowledge on how to make a healthy one.
I mean, shit.
I have a few friends still going strong. They’re not perfect but they press on and I’m glad for them, but some of them will still likely split between here and the big sleep, and while I shouldn’t guesstimate my own success based on others’ failures, I’m wondering where the great disconnect is that really brought things to the breaking.
I’ll be honest to say there is some level of apprehension in hopes of my own future union. One cannot watch marriages fall apart all around them and not ask themselves if they are, indeed, strong enough to see it through? I have plenty of my own weaknesses, failures, problems, shortcomings, etc.. Will I meet a woman who can deal with me dealing with them? Because make no mistake, marriage solves nothing.
Marriage is wonderful, but it’s hella work that might split between good return and bad return. It’s definitely worth the work, and life isn’t about being happy (believe it or not), but how might I do it differently? What must I ensure I focus on to keep her engaged? My job isn’t to make her happy, but it is to focus on her satisfaction. Do I have what it takes to do that?
Will I be selfless enough without losing who I am? Will I be strong enough without overbearing her? Will I be supple enough to ensure she can flex, but firm enough not to let her go too far? And that goes both ways, but her behavior is not my responsibility — mine is.
Marriage solves nothing because you remain who you are, they remain who they are, then you both must deal with the problems that arise betwixt the two of you. Did you marry because of passion or because it felt good? Or did you marry because you planned a life of working together? Marriage is work. Even relaxing together, however much fun, can be a chore.
Life is easy and simple when you’re single, but it’s not necessarily better. Each has its pros and cons, and I wouldn’t sell you on either. Do what you want, I merely advise you doing it for the right reasons. Plenty of screw each other enough to think they’re ready to seal that deal with marriage, only to find out they had nothing else in common. Some people fear loneliness only to find themselves even more isolated in marriage. Some people marry friends who were honestly better off friends. Some people don’t want to marry but feel what investment they had is worth the rest of their life. And some marry because they fear that if they do not do it now with who they have at the moment, they will be alone into forever.
Marriage solves nothing. Only you can solve your problems, even if from a faith-based point of view of surrendering it to God, but you must still choose to offer those up. And even then, you cannot merely “surrender” and then hope God to do it for you. You must communicate, engage, and humble yourself to their needs. It doesn’t not mean surrender who you are to their every desire, and that’s what becomes difficult: being yourself while being one with someone else, and working to serve them while honoring your own need to remain an individual, and then both of you working together to build a life.
But things go awry, decisions are made, emotions are stirred, hopes are dashed, illusions are soundly popped, and we’re left there wondering if marriage with this person was ever the right decision at all.
So what now? For me, as it has been: Carry on. My eyes are open and ears are to the ground, listening to the winds. I trust in God but I’m tying my camel, and I hope that when I meet the right woman, it’s because it’s the right time, not for the easy perfection, but the season to engage, to learn, to shape, and ultimately forge a relationship built to endure, supple to take the hits, strong to barrel over the simple stuff, and committed ever to each other, our lives, and the God we share and whom we serve.
At least, that’s the hope.