Ever since I was 15 I wanted to get married. I was struck by the mystery marriage and romance entailed and like many I was spellbound. The whirlwind romance, good-feel fuzziness and the happy-ever-after denoted that beyond the threshold of marriage lay the elixir to all illnesses, answer to all questions, a void where happiness knew no bounds and where misery didn’t exist.
With the years I could discern a troublesome pattern that didn’t quite add up: everyone who got married, those who I knew crossed over, seemed more miserable than before. The hope seemed to have zapped from them, and before long it either ended in divorce or a burning fire that was soon abandoned to die down on its own. For years I tried to make sense of it because I wanted to cross over too, and I wanted those examples I saw to be exceptions. But , I couldn’t deny the fact that every situation I witnessed couldn’t be an exception, but rather the rule. I couldn’t consolidate this because a part of me was resisting and before too long I found myself in a cognitive dissonance stalemate that gnawed at me. Whenever I wanted to just take the plunge and jump in blindfolded, the battle inside resumed and I couldn’t ignore it.
In an earlier post I wrote about what it took to uncover what made me cling onto the fantasy and discard it. I bought into the notion because I wanted to dump all my troubles in a bag labelled ‘ toxic waste’ that the Knight in the shining armour had. I wanted to run away from everything that troubled me and have someone else deal with the practicalities of life, and just kick back and chillaaax.
It took every iota and neuron in my body and soul to destroy that false notion.
When I look to the situations of many people who get married and find misery, I recognize their motivation. They aren’t marrying a person, but an escapist fiction which takes them away from the blaring reality. They want to pack all their issues in a luggage and hand them over to their spouse. But so does the spouse. So they cross the threshold of their joint home, and what do they see? Firstly, their luggage is still there for some reason, but not only that, they got company. The person that was supposed to be their escape apparently had the same idea as they are standing in front of them with their luggage. What the…?
You can see where I am going with this.
People are looking for a comfort zone in marriage and they are surely in for a disappointment. Marriage is double the work, double the effort but also double the joy. Nobody is going to deal with your life but you. A comfort zone is like hiding under a blanket for fear of the boogeyman, but the only thing it does is that it screens you from having to witness how the boogeyman rips you apart and devours you… limb by limb ( if that’s what boogeymen do).
No, I’m sorry to waste that fantasy, but marriage isn’t a comfort zone utopia. A successful marriage is for two independent individuals who want to grow interdependently. It is for two honest people who realize what life is about and what they want out of it. Two people who want to enjoy the sunset and walk in the rain with umbrellas.
Someone who has the habit of running away from what troubles them and seek out escapism in alcohol, food, whatever – what are they going to do when inevitable differences and issues arise in the marriage? Old habits die hard, and it’s going to be twice as hard because now there’s another person tied to you. Another person, another heap of issues – and two people running away from it all.
You have to understand that troubleshooting and problem solving is going to have to be tools you keep in your night stand. Marriage is an extraordinary experience with extraordinary responsibility.
You also have to understand that before a relationship and its’ fanfare, you cannot seek outwardly what you can only find inwardly. You have everything you need within you, but it is upon you to dig in and get your hands dirty. No one else will heal your wounds, because no one else can. Everybody is unique and nobody holds another’s spare part. We are our own doctors, mechanics,therapists and perhaps moonlight as our own masseuse for the broken heart 🙂
I’m still on the look out for the whole puzzle, and this is just a piece of it. Do let me know if you find another piece ! 🙂