The day my husband proposed to me was one of the most joyful days of my life. As I gleefully accepted, my heart was somersaulting in my chest and surely he saw the fireworks in my eyes. I walked around in pure delight after becoming a new fiancée, holding my left ring finger strategically so that anyone who was paying attention knew that I was getting married. The whole engagement thing is rather sanctimonious like that now-a-days. Alas, looking forward to the shameless Facebook announcement has become a highlight of the event in itself.
Once upon a time marriage was seen as an expectation; while in today’s society marriage is perceivably a bit less so. The marriage rate is down a little less than 20% from the 1950’s. Is that because gender roles have progressed, and men and women are considerably more independent from each other? It could be. Regardless, the concept of a modern relationship taking it to the next level is extravagantly celebrated. After all, it’s a unique, life-changing event, and despite the ~forever alone~ memes that circulate our social media feeds, the status is coveted, if not only for the sheer romance of sharing day-to-day life with someone they connect with. I consider myself a lucky one, because although our relationship hasn’t been effortless, we’ve persevered through good times and bad, and we’ve been watering our love fern together for almost four years…
Shortly after we got engaged, I began scouring wedding forums for planning inspiration, etiquette advice, and simply to relate to and feed off other brides who were going through the same joyful experience as me in real-time. On the forum, there was off-topic banter from the typical planning discussions. In one way or another, women might ask about what marriage means to them. “Why are you excited to marry your partner? What is the difference, to you, between a committed relationship and a committed marriage?” I never contributed to this sort of thread, because honestly, the answer was never obvious to me.
The answers that surface immediately, well… I love him. And, he officially becomes my human. Marriage is a solitary legal, and often, religious commitment to just one other person among the billions of other people out there, and that’s pretty cool. But that’s more or less the fruitless answer to the question, because it’s so glaringly obvious.
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
The long answer? It’s more complex. It’s something that I’m figuring out every day. One thing I know for sure, is that I revel in the friendship that I have with my husband. You see, we’re homebodies. Despite the journal entries I share with my 12 viewers (I love you, guys) we are both private people with a sentiment for family, tradition, and our personal twist on the original American dream. When I say family, I mean…our family. Him. Me. Our son. We have some pretty ambitious goals, and continually work hard for the life we live and love. Neither of us enjoys having an obligation to anyone but ourselves, so we don’t make any. Of course we love our extended families, but at the end of the day, it’s just Us. When something goes wrong, I’m not calling my parents anymore. I’m calling my husband, and I expect him to have an answer to our problem, even if it’s, “I’ve got nothin, but we’ll get through this.”
Which leads me seamlessly into another distinguishing quality of our marriage: physical dependency. I admit without humiliation that dependency is crucial to our marriage; tenfold as we raise a child together. This facet of our relationship is very important to making our goals attainable. We have individual as well as team-driven focuses, and the more effective we are reaching our individual goals, the more successful we are going to be together for the larger vision. This is just how the dynamic of our relationship works out based on the lifestyle we live. We practice emotional dependency as well. We humbly accept that on a given day, we are the only adults that we speak to on the outskirts of our professional careers. We are the glue that holds one another together. It’s important for us to be able to accept each other constantly, carry each other’s burdens however big or small, and to consistently be offering one another support and interest. It’s exhausting, and sometimes he sees the chip on my shoulder, but we always prevail.
I’m married to my husband because we’ve proven our willingness to compromise with one another. Through the counselors we’ve hired to get through the really tough stuff, to the significant financial decisions we’ve made together, to honing our parenting techniques that compliment one another in raising our son, and right down to the small stuff, like who picks the movie from Redbox and which one of us climbs first at the crag. After four years of decision-making beside that man and learning how to argue and how to respond when he makes a parenting call that I just can’t get down with, I know that he’ll always be there for me. I know that I can inexcusably be unpleasant for a week straight, or that he can leave his dresser drawers and the kitchen cabinets wide open every day for the rest of our natural lives, and no doubt we’ll get sick of each other, so sick of each other, but we’ll always be able to count on one another. We’ll always be there for each other.
Through the cruxes of life and the blissful moments alike, he’s the man I want to take on the world with.