MARRIAGE…A Mans Perspective
Last weekend I had the honor and privilege of not only attending…but also officiating the wedding of two very dear friends; Matti and Betsy, they are a great couple and I am really proud of them. It was an awesome weekend, I got to see lots of other friends too…but the whole undertone of marriage got me thinking that it is something I should address here.
Should you as a man aspire to become a married man? It’s really a loaded question and the answer depends a lot on who you talk to.
Relationships can be super tough, they can make you want to fake your own death and leave the country…I know because I was in a relationship like that once. They can make you miserable beyond your wildest imaginations.
However…a relationship with the right person can also enhance your life, and make it great. A relationship with the right individual can actually make you a better person than you have the capacity to be on your own. I know some of you are rolling your eyes, and to be honest if someone told me that 4 years ago I would have rolled my eyes too.
By the time I met my wife I was completely committed to being single for the rest of my life, I was a committed, confirmed bachelor and you know what? I was super happy about that! I had had my fill of horrible relationships and I was done. I had come to believe that the “right one” was a complete myth fabricated only to ensure the propagation of our species. I was really looking forward to going through the rest of my life only caring about me, doing whatever I wanted to whenever I wanted to without considering what someone else thought of it. I felt unshackled and liberated from the emotional anchor of a relationship. I felt like this right up to the second that I met my wife.
So…what happened? Well, I met my wife. I met her, spent a few hours with her, and my life hasn’t been the same since that day. I can’t explain it really. I spent the next three days arguing with myself about my bachelor status and wanting to be single…but it was stupid and I knew it. I had met the mythical ONE that I had given up on.
So why am I telling you this? I am telling you this in order to establish for the record, that it is possible…it does happen. A lot of you listening may have given up like I did, others of you never did believe in it in the first place…still others of you listening might be locked into a horrible relationship with the wrong person right this second and what I’m saying sounds like science fiction. Thats ok…I get it. Wherever you are, I understand…because I have been there.
OK, so lucky me…I met the perfect woman and married her. Actually what I am here to tell you is that it wasn’t luck. If I would have met her right out of high school that would have been luck. I wish I could make you understand what hell I went through before I met my wife.
I had so many lessons to learn. I had so much crap to wade through. I’ve had girlfriends that stole my car and all my money, I’ve had girlfriends that had serious substance abuse issues, and mental illness, and some more that were just plain mean. There might have even been a couple that were born without a soul…not sure.
After each one I would assess the damage and make note of what lessons I learned that I would never repeat. Then…I would throw myself back out there thinking optimistically that the next one might be the one I was looking for. Time and time again I would repeat this cycle. It sounds crazy doesn’t it?
Why did I keep doing this? Well, partly I was looking for what my dad found, I was looking for the bliss I got a chance to witness first hand in the marriage between my parents. I decided at a very young age that I was going to get married and be just as happy as my dad. So I ran out and married the first girl I could find when I was 19, got married…and, it didn’t turn out so well. After that I couldn’t let go of that perfect image I had in my head of what marriage was supposed to be like, so I kept trying again and again and again.
It’s true, we all have lessons to learn in life so all these failed relationships aren’t a complete waste of time…but they sure are not very fun either.
It’s also true that every once in a while two people meet when they are young and it turns out perfect, they live happily ever after the first time around…I’m not talking about the people that put up with each other until they die…I’m talking about the ones that are truly happy.
It might sound like I’m telling you that you are destined to endure a lifetime of misery before you ever meet the right person, if you get lucky…well, it just sounds that way, because that’s not what I’m saying.
I’m going to share with you something I learned, something my wife and I both learned. Because she was in the same boat as me, she was also resigned to being single the rest of her life.
Here is what we learned…it’s kind of a short cut to happiness if you can pull it off. For both me and my wife, nothing changed until we got to a place that we were completely happy with ourselves just the way we were. We stopped looking for a wife or a husband and instead were just working on ourselves and being happy with what we had.
There was a magic moment when I became completely content with the idea that I was happy just being me. In that moment, with that peace came the ability to recognize the right one when she showed up. Because I didn’t have an agenda, I wasn’t trying to accomplish anything, I wasn’t considering my next move. I was just being happy me and she was being happy her…and we were just getting to know another human.
In case you didn’t know it…happiness is very attractive. We were irresistible to each other because we both met the happiest person we had ever met.
So the shortcut I talked about is a theory of mine. In my theory it says that regardless of your age if you can somehow became completely content with yourself, if you can arrive at a place where your emotional health is self sustaining and not dependent on another person, if you can become genuinely happy…then you will be in the best position to meet the person that is right for you.
You can disagree if you like, but I’m speaking from the position of a person that did just that.
So back to the question I asked earlier;
Should you as a man aspire to become a married man? I think the answer is yes. Because a good marriage is a great thing, and if you want to have children it is such a better experience when you have two loving parents working together on it…because it isn’t easy. So Yes, I think you should aspire to it, but I don’t think it should be a goal, or even an objective. It should not be something that you measure your worth against.
Instead make being happy your goal. Make being content with yourself and who you are as a man your objective. Commit to your own personal improvement in all areas because it’s not until you can do that…that you will have anything worth committing to someone else.
To sum it all up…in other words. Be a better man today, than you were yesterday.