I’m scared…

Can I tell you something?  I’m scared to death of being unhappily married.  Of course I’m single, never been married, so don’t be surprised if a lot of what I say on this topic is stupid or uninformed or just plain wrong.  But I’ve got to talk about it.

When you’re a little girl, you have this idea that your prince charming will come sweep you off your feet, and your wedding day will be the beginning of happily ever after.  As you grow up, you realize that there’s no such thing as happily ever after in real life.  Getting married won’t make you any happier, it won’t make life any easier, it just is what it is.  Getting married is joining your life, imperfect as it is, to someone else’s life, also imperfect.  In the best scenario, you are teaming up with your best friend and facing life’s joys and challenges together.  At least, that’s my perception of marriage right now.

However, as you grow up and realize that a girl’s wedding day isn’t the beginning of perfection, it occurs to you that being happily married must take a good amount of work.  And you start to wonder, how does a couple build and maintain a happy marriage?  I really started to notice the relationships of people I knew who had been married for a long time.  It’s impossible to know what a relationship is really like unless you’re one of the people in the relationship, but I started to notice two types of relationships. 

There are some couples who seem to be happy to be together.  They each have their own lives, but they want to be around each other.  They go on vacations, they go on dates, they sit together on the couch and watch t.v.  They make each other laugh, they consult each other when things get rough.  They argue and make up.  They seem to have a smooth way of making decisions together.  They seem to truly enjoy each other’s company.

Then there are the couples who seem to be stuck with one another.  They each have their own lives, and they seem like they would prefer to not have the other person in their life at all.  They don’t spend time in the same room when they’re at home.  They only go on vacations together if it’s a family trip.  They only out together if they are meeting other friends.  They only spend time together at home if they are doing something with the children.  They argue, and they stop arguing, but nothing ever gets resolved.  They can’t seem to make decisions as a couple, so whoever encounters the decision first just takes care of it, without consulting the other person.  They don’t even like each other!

That second type of relationship, the one where they’re stuck with each other, is what I’m terrified of.  What is the difference???  How did that couple become that way?  Was the relationship like that from the beginning?  If so, why did they ever get married?  Was it happy in the beginning, but the people changed that much over the years, that they turned into people the other one doesn’t like anymore?  Was it because of having kids?  If so, I don’t want to have kids!  You know how much I’ve always wanted to be a mom, so maybe that tells you exactly how scared I am of an unhappy marriage.  If the kids are going to grow up and move out and I will be stuck with someone who doesn’t like me living in my house for the rest of my life, then I’d rather not have kids at all.  Having kids in the house is maybe 18 to 25 years, depending on how many you have.  Marriage is the rest of your life, which is hopefully a lot longer than 18 to 25 years.  I don’t want to sacrafice the rest of my life, the rest of my happiness, for that one goal of being a mom.  If those 18 years are going to ruin the rest of my life, it’s not worth it.

Maybe that’s selfish, but you have to understand.  It’s not fair for a kid to grow up and realize their parents don’t even like each other.  It’s not fair for a kid to grow up and be old enough to get married, and want to, but be scared of it because of what they’ve seen in their parents’ relationship.  You’ve heard the expression that a mother’s job is to give her children both roots and wings?  Well, in my opinion, the parents’ relationship is the roots.  If that relationship is unstable or unhappy, it feels like you have no roots.  There’s nothing happy to go home to.  It doesn’t matter how much they love me, if they can’t love each other, there are no roots.  I refuse to raise children into that situation if I can help it.

The Boy and I have been talking about marriage a lot lately.  (Not ME AND HIM, you overly excited nosy people!  We’re barely a couple.  Just marriage in general!)  I love that he makes me so comfortable and it’s so easy to be honest with him.  But at the same time, I don’t want him to see how terrified I am of having an unhappy marriage.  I’m afraid that being scared of being unhappy in a relationship means that I won’t know how to make a happy relationship, or at least I’m scared that’s what he will think.  Despite the fact that we are taking things slowly and we are just in the beginning, he has such a clear vision of where this relationship could possibly go in the future.  I would hate for him to think that I don’t want to go there with him, because I do.

I just really want to know what makes the difference!  How do I get from happily single, to happy newlywed, through happy motherhood if that’s in the cards, to happily married for 20 or 30 years?  What makes the difference between happily married and stuck with each other?

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tara
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 19:05:15

    Oh hunny, don’t worry about that now. I understand who you are referring to and you’ve got to realize that they let it get that way. No one ever said that marriage was easy and you do have to work at it. You have to make an effort to have together time, even when there are children, and let that love stay alive. I too have seen relationships like that, and ones that are ideal, and trust me, they made an effort to keep their love strong. It is too easy to get swept away by children and doing everything for them, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as you go in willing to work and fight for your relationship, you’ll be fine.

    By the way, when do we get to meet the boy? Chad’s having a little birthday gathering at Dave & Buster’s on Saturday night. I’ll let you know the details when I know them all for sure.
    Also, you have the Biggest Loser book right? Can I borrow it from you for a little bit. I just want to look through it again. I saw it at the store today and skimmed through it. Now I want to read it a bit closer.

    Hope to see you soon! Love ya, Tara

    Reply

  2. Becky
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 21:15:44

    Ok, so I read your whole blog, and I think you answered your own question in the very beginning. I also ditto the things Tara said above. However, here is your answer:

    Your happily ever after = Getting married is joining your life, imperfect as it is, to someone else’s life, also imperfect. In the best scenario, you are teaming up with your best friend and facing life’s joys and challenges together.

    Two imperfect lives working together, in love, can make one perfect and happy marriage.

    Love you!

    Reply

  3. Doris
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 10:12:17

    After more than your 25 years estimate for raising children I can say that we have been both of the examples you give at one time or another and everything inbetween. I know that you want an easy answer but the real answer is that we are all evolving and changing so our relationships are also evolving and changing. If a couple agree to make it work and when they realize they are becoming the separate but living in the same house people they must decide to change that. There are times in parenting that we must just decide and there are times we must concur with the other parent. That is for parents living together and parents living separate. That is parenting. I guess the 25 year limit to get the parenting job done was one rule I never learned. I am glad I didn’t or I would not be where I am today. I like where I am today. I can say kids change the relationship but if handled together with love it multiplies the intensity of the relationship and the love each member of the family has to share with others. Peace and Love are the 2 gifts we must make work for ourselves in our own lives. God gives them we must accept and nurture them.
    Love you,
    Doris

    Reply

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