Recently it’s become difficult for me to believe in marriage. (Please take note of the fact that I say “difficult” and not “impossible,” which will be explained later.)
I feel cynical for saying it, but I’m not so sure that it’s the “happily ever after” that I’ve always thought it would be. Ideally, this is how marriage goes: Two people meet. They become romantically interested in one another and start dating. This leads to love and total commitment to one another. They are successful at communicating with each other and, after a great deal of talking, thinking, and praying, they decide to get married. This means that they are confirming their commitment and love and promising to be with the other person forever. Through triumphs and struggles – both independent and as a couple – they support and love each other until the end of their lives.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But how often does it actually happen?
I realize couples argue. I realize they get tired of each other and need breaks. I realize jobs and children and money (along with many, many other things) can put stress on the relationship and cause both members to want to get out of it. But… do these things really have to happen to everyone?
It’s so difficult to believe in marriage because I don’t really see it working. Everywhere I look couples are falling apart and just aren’t happy because they’re married. I just found out that one of my favorite couples is separating, after being married for twenty-some years, after going through literally everything together. They always seemed so happy, and what they had was something that I could aspire to and hope to have in my life. But… I guess it wasn’t all it appeared to be. So is marriage not what it appears to be too, then?
I feel like if you agree to marriage you agree to the unhappiness that comes with it. My feeling is, though, that that isn’t what marriage is supposed to be about. Marriage is supposed to bring you happiness. It’s supposed to bring you love and peace of mind because you’re with the one other person in the world who knows you almost better than you know yourself. Marriage allows you to say, “I want to spend my entire life with you by my side and to be with you always.” Sure, it’s not always going to be easy, and it’s not always going to be happy either. But it should bring happiness most of the time.
So is marriage going to be doomed for all eternity? Or is it something that actually does work?
Even with its failings, I very much want to believe in marriage. I think it’s dumb to try and fight something that may actually be, well, doomed, just to say that you’re better than it is, but I do want to give marriage a try. Not right now, but later in my life. It’s an institution that’s held up for thousands of years, and while it might not work for everyone, maybe it will work for me. The most important thing to me is that it brings not fear or anger or exasperation, but happiness, and I think that’s something I can strive for.
But the real reason I think marriage may work is because of the relationship I have now. I can’t find hope in others, so I’ve started finding it in myself. I feel so blessed to be able to be so incredibly happy in my relationship. My boyfriend and I have been together for 16 months and as crazy as it is to say, we haven’t had any problems in that time. (pardon me for gushing about it… I feel really weird when I do.) Our relationship is so strong and we are so grateful for what we have. I realize that 16 months is like a second in the lifetime that is marriage, but I do think it’s something to celebrate and take note of. These feelings haven’t left us yet – maybe they won’t if we do end up being together forever.
In any case I’m not in any rush to get married. I’ve still got my life ahead of me – no need to make big decisions right now. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about recently and needed to get off my chest.
But I do hope things like love and happiness can last forever. I believe they can. I just wish the rest of the world did.