I had dinner with a friend last night, and we were talking about how we both still had to send in our rsvp for a friend’s upcoming wedding. We discussed briefly what we each would do for our own wedding invitations, and I made a comment about how crazy it would be in the first place, if she were to receive an invitation to my own wedding. ‘You, too, eh?’ was something like her response. A conversation ensued about my views for myself on marriage.
It has been a recent discovery for me – meaning just in the past year or so – that I cannot quite see myself ever being able to marry. To me, anyway, there is a sanctity to marriage that includes the line ‘no matter what’. I do my best to say what I mean and to mean what I say in life. And I do my best to correct what I have said, when I discover afterward that I have erred. I believe that I could not honestly say and mean that I would be willing to commit to remaining in and working for a relationship no matter what.
To put an extreme example to this, I have read Jane Eyre. (Have you?) For those who haven’t read it, but intend to read it, and don’t want anything given away, ignore these next two sentences, and pick up at the bold font. Essentially, Jane Eyre falls in love with the ward of the girl she is tutoring, and she wants to marry him, but then finds out that he can’t actually marry, because his mentally insane wife lives in his attic (or something very close to that). So, she leaves him and is in shame for having loved a married man, the crazy wife eventually burns down the mansion and dies (I think in the fire she sets on the house), and Jane and her love are reunited years and years later, when he is old and blind (or, again, something to that effect) and legally single again. Not that you needed so much detail, but it’s a ridiculous story, and there is no part I would be willing to play in it. ‘No matter what’ includes ‘your spouse has gone mentally insane and tries to kill you’. And I know that this is an extreme example, but it is merely an example. There are a multitude of situations in which I would not want to find myself, if I couldn’t let a relationship go. I know, too, that they are all incredibly unlikely. But they are possible, and I would be lying if I agreed to staying together and loving one another no matter what.
This isn’t to say, of course, that I would be unwilling to share my life with someone. I am definitely willing, should that someone come along. I just cannot honestly say that I could ever marry that person.
Now, that is my recent discovery – one that really surprised me, when I discovered it – about marriage and myself. As dinner was ready just as I finished explaining it to my friend last night, our conversation topic turned in the direction of food. And so, recalling today that we hadn’t ever gotten to the ‘you, too?’ comment that began my non-marriage-details reveal, I sent the friend a message about it. The following was exchanged between me and the friend, revealing her thoughts on her own possibility of marriage.
H: Also, we never finished a certain conversation. I seem to recall that you had visions of yourself not ever getting married, but we never went into details on it
Friend: Definitely a conversation to be continued!
I think I’d like to find someone that I’d think about marrying. But my life is pretty great when I pull my head out of work and enjoy it! I don’t agree that there should be pressure to find someone to share your life with to make you complete. Also, I’m realistic about what it would take for me to get to that point with someone (a lot). I don’t trust new people that deeply very easily. And I don’t date a lot. But there ARE things I’d like to be better at fitting work around: horses, fitness, my dog, friend time, trips I want to take. So I’m focussing on that. If the guy thing happens, it happens. Sometimes I get a little down about it, but usually I just try to focus on all the good things and don’t worry to much about it 😁
H: Oh, my goodness.
That’s perfection in words.
(Minus the missing o near the end)
And so, there you have two modern-day female views on marriage for themselves. I hadn’t considered the topic in quite the words she used, but similar ideas have definitely arisen for me. Yes, I want to share my life with another/others who are close to me. No, it ultimately does not have to be a spouse. I just don’t like living alone in the first place – I want loving people around me, supporting me and being supported by me in everyday life. I want to share the joys and successes and failures of my own life with someone, and vice versa. But it doesn’t have to be someone with whom I have romantic ties. That’s part of why I loved so much how my friend listed the things she loves and on which she wants to put more focus in her life. I believe that, when we do the things we want to do, and we go the places we want to go, we find the people we want in our lives. (I even said something almost exactly to that effect in a video I did for a class in college, talking about one of my study abroad semesters.) And so that is my goal in my daily life. Sure, I would love to find that someone perfect. But doing the things I love to do, and going where I love to go, and spending my life with people I love and who love me… that’s the most important goal for me in my daily life right now.