After a record-setting number of visitors and emails yesterday, I’m a bit overwhelmed. I feel like I should have something really profound to say today, but as my regular readers can verify, I rarely have profound things to say. I like to bust out my
profoundity profoundess profanity deep thoughts only on special occasions.
Coincidentally, I do have another subject that I’ve gotten several emails about. Marriage. And if you’re reading this all ‘Why is the world would anyone think she should be giving out marital advice?’, don’t worry – I’m right there with ya. I’m not qualified and I know this. But my post about my friend Bob marrying the wrong woman apparently struck a chord with many of you, and I got an unusual number of questions. Never one to disappoint my
handful legion of loyal readers, I’m obliging with a few more thoughts.
Reader Lisa (not the Lisa from the Bob post) asked me how I know that settling is a bad thing. ‘Just because it wouldn’t work for you doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for someone else, right?’
Maybe. Maybe if you’re not very intelligent, or you’re not very passionate, or you’re not very ambitious, or you have low self-esteem…maybe then you’ll be okay with settling. Not happy, but maybe not miserable. So if ‘not alone’ and ‘not completely miserable’ appeals to you, well, then, best of luck.
For the majority of you, settling will not a happily ever after make.
You know those sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond, where the loveable characters bicker over how the toilet paper goes on the dispenser [paper over] or how the toothpaste gets squeezed [bottom up] or who carries the suitcase up the stairs? And then they laugh at their silliness before the kiss and make up?
Things like one spouse saying ‘alls’ will make you homicidal one day ['Alls you have to do is...'] You will not laugh and kiss and make up, you will silently stew over the most annoying spouse in the whole entire universe because little things become huge when you’re in close proximity with the same person for forever.
When I was a young girl my mom said that for a happy marriage, spouses should agree on religion, politics, and money. And while I don’t necessarily disagree, I’d have to amend this thought.
Those things might make you, but sometimes it’s toilet paper and toothpaste that breaks you.
If you don’t have something deeper and more meaningful underneath, if you have no passion, no true love, then the little things become too much to bear.
The Art of Marriage
by Wilferd A. Peterson
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
You’re not likely to do that for someone you settled for, so don’t tell yourself you will. It’s a lie, and it’s a lie that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
So whatever happened with Bob?
Well nothing, yet. He was a little annoyed with me for writing about him, but said it made him think. He’s still dating the same girl, but he’s not talking marriage proposals anymore. And he said he’s thankful that he isn’t ‘stuck’.
Now let’s hope it stays that way. Stuck is a very bad address to have.
If you don’t advise settling, then how would you recommend I meet someone?
I don’t know. Truly. I’m just being honest here.
My parents met in a bar. I would not recommend meeting someone in a bar. Yet my parents have one of the best and strongest marriages I’ve ever seen.
You just never know. And I realize this is not the answer you want, because it involves waiting and patience and fate and destiny, none of which you can control. I can totally be all ‘eharmony.com baby’ if you’d like, but I wouldn’t have any idea if that’s really good advice or not.
What I can tell you is that I went to a Bible college, and the place was crawling with husband hunters. It was repulsive. Granted, Bible college is probably a decent place to meet a good man. But to have marriage as your only goal makes you, frankly, not very appealing. And I say this as a woman who wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother, so I know of what I speak.
Develop yourself, get a hobby, and volunteer somewhere so you don’t become completely self-centered. The right partner will come along, and if you rush it all you’ll do is make yourself more likely to settle for the wrong one.
If Bob ever breaks it off with Ms. Wrong, will you play matchmaker?
Um, no. See the above, and sign yourself up for zumba or something. Patience is a virtue.
In closing, Bob would like me to clarify that he’s not a loser. He thinks I made him sound desperate. He’s not. [Because not desperate people marry someone that's just 'ok' all the time...] He’d also appreciate it if I clarified that he does not have ‘a good personality’. He’s a stud.
He just wanted you to know that.
I told Bob that you don’t always get what you want.