Why marry? Why marry him? Why marry him now?

Posted on November 3, 2008. Filed under: deciding, emotional |

It took me a while to become accustomed to the idea of getting married again.  I wasn’t sure that I knew what it meant, or why it mattered, and I’d already failed once.  Lots of people don’t get married, and I wonder if that’s because, like me, they’re afraid of getting divorced.

Not long after the first time that The Cheesiest Mister mentioned getting married, I brought it up at lunch with my girlfriend.  “If we’re already committed, why don’t we just get married now?  What’s the difference?”  Much discussion ensued.

Later, after we were engaged, we went through a very rough patch.  At lunch with the same girlfriend, she asked, “Why marry him?   There are lots of guys out there, and many of them would be right for you.  You don’t have to answer me, but be sure that you know the answer yourself.  Why him and not someone else?”

A few days ago, in the discussion we had in the comments section of this post, I was asked by the lovely and thoughtful Erin (paraphrased), “Why marry him now?  What’s your rush?  You have communication problems, and I wonder why you’re in such a hurry.”

Thank goodness for girlfriends, because those three questions — and my answers — are the reason that I feel settled and happy.  Those answers explain why I’m not worried that we struggle to communicate or that we had different ideas about how our lives would play out.

Why marry?  Because I want to be a family with him in a publicly recognizable way.  I want to pledge, in front of our friends and families, that I am no longer only myself but him as well, and that together we are complete.  I want to have one moment in time when our hearts are filled with hope and happiness that we get to live our lives together.  I want to have something to grasp when I feel like I’m failing or falling or lost — a ring, a name, the words that form our vows.  I want there to be something to hold us together when we have lost the ability to do it ourselves, to have a reason to ride out the rough patches (even if the only reason is that divorce lawyers suck).  And, pragmatic girl that I am, I’d like the tax break and the shared health insurance.  I love him and I want him to have the same benefits that I do. {Yes, I think that gay couples should have that right, too.}

Why marry him?  Because he’s kind and thoughtful.  Because I’m finally mature enough to see him exactly as he is and still love him so much I can’t imagine a future without him.  Because in the middle of a fight, he stops to ask if I’m okay, if I need anything.  Because (as I’ve said many times before) I want my kids to be just like him, because I want to be a parent with him, because I want to tie my future to his.  Because he sets a high standard that I aspire to in terms of relationships and love.

Why marry him now?  Well, not now.  Not today.  I need an engagement, a transition period from my singledom to this new life specifically to ponder questions like these.  But in the spring, I’ll be ready.  I want to marry him then because I can’t see any reason not to, because I can’t wait for us to belong to each other, because soon we’ll get to start a family and I’m terribly excited about that.  We want to be married, and our wedding is a step down that path, not an end in and of itself.  Important, but not most important.  I’d marry him tomorrow if I had to, but I’d rather take the time to get through the emotional journey beforehand that so that the day we say our vows is joyous and free.

Put another way, there are no good reasons not to.  We’re both settled financially with relatively solid (*knock on wood*) careers.  We’re both at peace with our previous relationships.  We agree on a financial path, have shared all of our secrets, and have gained the negotiation skills that we lacked at first.  Neither of us is in school, our parents are all supportive, and we feel like we’re old enough and mature enough to be making such a momentous decision.  We want the same things out of life (mostly), have discussed religion and child-raising ideas, and not too far away from wanting children.  It’s time to get married!

Your turn.  You don’t have to share your answers, but I would love to hear if you’ve thought about and answered these questions.  Had you thought about them before?  Do you have answers that you’re comfortable with?


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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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