When I started this op/ed piece on marriage, I had no idea I had quite this much to say about it. Honest. I mean, I know I am opinionated, but this… Well, I’m still learning how to blog. I thank you, dear Reader, for taking this ride with me.
Also, I swear that I had no idea that these recent posts would be corresponding with Valentine’s Day!!!! I am innocent!!!! So much so that I have totally screwed up on the traditional knick-knack and presents routine!!!! Yikes!!!
We left off here:
Next time, questions seven and eight, and the conclusion of this series.
Question 7: Do you feel safe enough – ARE you safe enough – to trust this person with all of your nightmares? Can you be trusted with theirs?
Safety is an interesting issue. There is the physical safety question, which is the one which comes to mind for most of us when we hear about “safety.” While physical abuse is a serious issue and a horrifying, terrifying reality for many, others have discussed this point and advocated on its behalf already, and they have done a great job. I will say one thing, though – okay, maybe two. One: there is no such thing as “only happened once.” If you’ve been struck once, it will happen again. Don’t hang around for that. And if your partner “just kicked the pet, but not me” – again, it is a matter of time. Don’t wait around for it. People often practice violence on animals first, then move onto people. GET OUT. Two: if this has happened to you, you are probably also isolated from family and friends and lacking in transportation and cash. This is what you do — Tell your private family doctor. She /he will immediately find you shelter and this shelter will connect you with a place to live, a job to afford it, and a lawyer to protect yourself. I know it’s frightening, but it will only get worse if you wait. One last thing: WORDS CAN HURT MORE THAN HANDS.
Okay, now that we have that said, we can discuss safety in the context of intimacy. This is scary too. It is totally natural and normal to be nervous about undressing your soul in front of someone, but if the thought of telling your beloved what the monsters under your bed look like scares you more than the monsters do…. Well, I’d look into that. Are you resisting looking that deeply into yourself (there may be good reasons; I’m not arguing that. you just need to know the answer.) or is there something that leaves you feeling that you wouldn’t be understood or taken seriously? I don’t know how many “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans read this, but remember how Anya’s biggest fear was bunny rabbits? It’s silly to all of us, but it kept her awake at night. Xander, to his credit, did not mock this fear. He filed it away under “important information to know” and never belittled her about bunnies and never put her in a situation where a bunny may hop.
If you can’t share your bunnies with your beloved, with whom will you share them?
Question 8: Do you actually like this person? They aren’t going to change. You might be able to negotiate a putting the cap on the toothpaste deal – but that’s about it. What you have today will be the same decades from now – the sense of humor, the sense of style, the sense of fashion, and most importantly, the nature of your friendship. Yes, change is a constant – when it comes to circumstances, but not often when it comes to people. Are you happy with him / her today, or do you feel a need to renovate? Do they try to change you?
This seems so incredibly obvious that it’s incredible that I’m mentioning it, right? But let me ask you this – when Thanksgiving comes around and you go to visit all those relatives you love so much, how many of them do you actually *like*?
The food that sustains love is friendship. The only relationships strong enough to handle the strangeness and unpleasantness and tragedy that Life brings are the ones built on a well-nourished, kind, compassionate friendship. You will not always be a young supermodel and your rich CEO may lose his / her job. When you have a young child, I promise you will not be getting very much sex. You will both want sleep or a shower more than food or water, let alone a good poke. But a good sense of humor and a deep-seeded fondness for your comrade-in-arms will carry you through anything. And, I promise, those shared naps while the baby sleeps can be far more intimate, far more satisfying than blissful hours of marathon playing. The only thing better than the sleep is the chance to have a real conversation about something – anything – rather than just exchanging vital information and status updates. These are things you do with your friend. And you accept your friend as he or she is.
You fall in love with your best friend, you will have a wonderful marriage. Not always easy, of course, because life isn’t easy. But it will be beautiful.
So, I had all these profound statements in mind for my conclusion here, but, well, to hell with it.
Get out of your own way and truly love someone. You’ll taste freedom and learn to fly. Of course it’s scary and hard and confusing and often strange – but anything worthwhile is exactly that. It is my deepest wish that we all find this within ourselves – so that we can give it to someone else.
- Marriage, or the Promise of Union, Part One (mermaidssinging.wordpress.com)
- Marriage, or the Promise of Union, Part Two (mermaidssinging.wordpress.com)