Monday, October 17, 2011

How to say "Fuck Yeah!"

 "There's not some great epic love between us," she says. "But I'm committed."
Her honesty is refreshing cutting right to the core of the issue. The "issue" that has been of great topic lately: marriage.
Another one says, "I was having marital problems a couple months ago and I was thinking about leaving him...but I'm realizing now, that I don't want a divorce from him. I want a divorce from myself."
I learned a couple weeks ago that a pair of friends that got married in 2007 are now divorcing. Is four years really even a good shot?

When I went home a few weeks ago, many family members asked me when I was getting married- a question that is really two questions- When and why have you not? When I came back to NYC, another friend shared her good news and yet another a week later. Everyone was getting engaged. The artificial pressure seemed to zoom in on my relationship and I began to ask myself the same questions: When am I getting married? And why the hell haven't I already? But in talking with marriage veterans this weekend I felt reassured in our "wait," reassured in my fear of the actual formal commitment and how seriously I take it, and also really grateful for what I do have. I DO have some great epic love with my boyfriend of four and half long-ass years. I can't imagine not having all the tests and trials and fights and years of living together we have experienced before making it legal and deciding, "Yes, let's fucking do this!" Once long ago, when I was dating another man and working long hours for my boss, my boss questioned why I was willing to work so late and on the weekends. Why was I so willing to be at home as little as possible? I went into my relationship a little and he stopped me cold and said, "If you're thinking about marrying this guy, you better be like 'Fuck Yeah! Let's get married!' Because if you are not 110% it will fail. Marriage is fucking hard," he said. I knew when he said it that I had never been 110% about that idea or about the guy. There was always a voice, a small one, but it was there no less, that was questioning the relationship. Something in me knew it wasn't the best I could do, but I loved him and so I compromised all the time until there was nothing left to be compromised. I had comprised myself. Recently, a friend suggested the flip side of that argument that maybe there is always doubt. While listening to the idea, I could understand that and surely over the weekend, other marriage veterans expressed they had doubts when they said, "I do." But in thinking about it on my long hour drives in Vermont, for myself, I can't imagine having any doubt when the question is asked or when walking down the aisle or any of that. I can't imagine promising to commit myself to someone for a lifetime that somewhere deep down I had some doubt in or that I did not have some great epic love. I remember a little while back being at a comedy show and a surly comedian said, "I'm never getting married. People know each other for two years and then they're like, awesome, lets spend the next 70 together." At that point, I think Mike and I were together three years and I remember thinking the comedian had a point. My relationship with Mike is not perfect and we have had our ups and downs and breaking points as well as all of the passion and excitement and romance that comes with it, but I can say for certain that while I have things that annoy me or things about him I have had to beat into my brain that I WILL NOT change, I don't have doubt. The things that drive me nuts are things that I love about him or at the very least have accepted about him. But for as crazy and "all in" as this relationship started, I feel very proud of us for really testing the waters and really grateful for giving ourselves the good times and the bad and how much stronger it has made us.  This is not to diminish anyone else's experiences (all of my friends that just got engaged!). I cannot say what is right for someone else nor do I (or anyone) know what really goes on behind closed doors in anyone else's relationship other than my own. For one person who may have a little doubt, it may work, and certainly there is real fear in ANY kind of commitment. But for me I realized that it just doesn't work. I think that doubt would burrow in my heart like a worm until one day it came out in the form of ugliness. I am grateful for all of the fights and all of the cramped living spaces and all of the crossroads Mike and I have faced. Cause if there is one thing I have learned about myself, I am the kind of person who needs to say "Fuck yeah. Let's do this!"

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