I got married because I was afraid. I was afraid no one would want me. I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid of losing one of the best men, I ever had come across. So I married him. I wasn’t IN love (at least compared to my current standards). I was afraid. And it is hardly possible to be both at the same time.
The first few years were rough. I spent so much time compensating. I became an absolute pleaser. Oddly this was to calm my own conscience not to please him. The guilt about not loving him enough made me want to do everything he wanted. At every unpleasant moment (and there are quite a few in early marriage), I was overcome with doubt that I had done the wrong thing. As I look back, I feel so much sadness for him. Everyone deserves to be loved completely. Even if I was masking pretty well (he really didn’t know), there is no way for someone to feel absolute love when it is not there.
For the next many years, we got into a good groove. We knew how to live with each other peacefully. We both cared for each other and our children. But this still doesn’t equate true love.
Sometime in the last few years, I decided comfortable was not good enough. I came across a book called “The Passionate Marriage” (even if this book is a therapy book, it is a little more detailed than some would be comfortable with). The most important thing I took from it was that the happiest marriages are where two people are together because they WANTED to be together NOT because they NEEDED each other. Want. Want. Want…..It started me thinking. If I was being honest, what did I want? Who did I want? Jon and I were very dependent on each other. He made ALL the money and I did ALL the childcare for our SIX kids.
So I took some time. I took the time to really look at myself. My desires. My dreams. My weaknesses. My hope. As I did this, I took steps to care for myself. I gave myself permission to do the things I wanted. I became a human (to myself) instead of a robot that my brain was giving commands to.
Oddly by doing this, subconsciously, I was giving the same gift to Jon. He became less of an object that made money and helped out. He became a person with a real heart, real fear, real thought. He was more than a husband. More than a father. He BECAME my soul mate. Until you experience the transition from living with someone to feeling with them, it is difficult to explain. I hurt when he hurts. There is light in my heart when he is happy. This is love. It is in my spirit, not in my heart.
So if I could give some advice..
1. Be in Love with whom you marry. It will carry you through.
2. If you didn’t marry for the right reasons, it is still ok. There is always time and capacity to love those who we wish to love.
3. Be independent. Like your own company. Your marriage will be better if you are very comfortable in your own skin and can defend yourself in a moment of tension. It will be hard to love yourself, if you lost yourself.
4. Open your heart and don’t give up. In some severe moments of uncertainty, Press on. Life isn’t greener on the other side. Bloom where you are planted. Something amazing might just grow.