Now, would everyone with their hand raised please go around and wake up those people who didn't raise their hands, and who slept through the question?
Marriage is the biggest decision you'll ever make. It's the longest and deepest commitment, the most expensive investment, the riskiest entrepreneurial gamble.
Of course you'll second-guess yourself. You're human.
Usually, there's a pattern to this sort of...pardon the expression..."buyers' regret".
- The bloom is off the rose - sometime after the honeymoon, when you get down to the mechanics of paying bills and sharing bathrooms, and NASCAR starts to win out over walking hand in hand on a sunny afternoon, the single life you left can look awfully attractive, and so can some of the prospective mates you met. This is the is this all there is? stage.
- The rut grows deeper - after about a decade of marriage, kids and careers and social obligations have driven a wedge between the lovebirds, and you're walking on parallel paths that stretch into infinity. Parallel, as in "never meeting". You look down the dinner table and ask yourself..."What am I doing here?"
- A stranger comes home - the kids are gone, and it's just the two of you, and you don't realize what a buffer those children have been. When there wasn't much to talk about...you talked about the kids. When you couldn't think of something to do together...the kids always had an agenda. And now it's just you, with this stranger in your life.
Does any of this sound familiar?
It should, and it shouldn't be a cause for despair, because it's perfectly normal.
We usually learn in steps, and marriage is, if nothing else, all about learning.
It's about learning how to live with and love another human being, every day.
Think about learning to swim. First, you learned to dog-paddle. It's quiite an accomplishment, but it that were all that is, would you have really wanted to do much more swimming?
Dog-paddling is fine, but you don't go anywhere.
Then you learned a stroke...crawl, sidestroke, breaststroke, whatever. And you could go places, slowly, thinking all the while about the movements you were making.
Wasn't it exhausting? Having to move in an unfamiliar way, and think about it, and get slapped in the face by waves every so often, forgetting to hold your breath because you were concentrating so hard, and having the happy experience of trying to breathe water?
But hey, you could swim! And if this was all there was, you could quit, too, and work on your tan...out of the water.
And then it all came together. You were swimming, and you weren't thinking about it. You were going places, and you'd automatically turn your head to avoid breathing liquid.
Marriage is like that. The learning comes in steps, and those plateaus can seem endless...and we think that maybe if we'd chosen someone else, or no one else, we'd be happier, and fulfilled.
But it's not true. We have to learn anyone; and if we live alone we have the even harder job of learning ourselves.
Yes, sometimes you'll feel like it's all wrong. But hang on, don't get out of the pool, and soon you'll find that you're swimming.