REAL QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WALK DOWN THE AISLE
WAIT…WHAT?! I’m in the middle of planning my wedding and BAM! You slap me with this question?! Yep. Because we care. Dream Weddings is about so much more than having the most glorious, fairytale affair you were raised to believe is the culmination of your life. We want to challenge your thinking and belief so that you, when you do have the Cinderella dream day that you’ve been planning since you were 5, are having it for the right reasons. So let’s get into this, shall we?
Whenever something has a 50% success rate, paired with an equal likelihood of hurting you in some way, you question its worthwhileness. As you absolutely should! For example: if 50% of all air planes that flew anywhere crashed, you’d likely figure out a different means to make it to your destination.
Although for some reason, we (as a society) don’t question this when it comes to marriage. Even though the statistic is, and has been for some time, that somewhere between 45-60% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Not the “glad we tried this but we’re better off as friends” kind of divorce. No, much more like the, “I expected this to be Happily Ever After and surprisingly, you weren’t perfect so now I’m going to find ways to gut you, spit on you and ultimately ruin you in every way possible before I leave” kind of divorce.
SO WHAT ARE WE DOING PEOPLE?!
Take a step back. You owe it to yourself and to whomever you think you’re going to share any part of your journey with to ask some seriously real questions. Not only that but you also need to be sure to create a space where you and your potential future partner can truly be honest with each other. The intention is not to hurt one another. The intention is to be kind through opening up.
We’re so used to projecting in our society. Projecting our feelings (making someone else responsible for them), projecting an image of our life (how dare we not be living the dream every. single. day.) Hello annoying Facebook posts! “Why is everyone’s life but mine so perfect all the time?!” News flash…it’s not! And the people who are truly getting the most out of life are the ones who realize that they must stop projecting and start looking inward.
So what are some questions you can ask yourself as well as your partner to begin exploring whether or not this getting married is the RIGHT thing for you? Here you go:
Do you believe that you are capable of 100% fulfilling every one of your partner’s needs or desires for the rest of your lives?
The real question here is: “Is ANYONE capable of this?” Think of all of your relationships, romantic or not. Does each one of those relationships bring something unique and valuable to your life? Will you be free and encouraged by your partner to not only retain those relationships but also explore new ones to see what kind of connections and value you can both give and receive from others after you are married?
Do you have real love for your partner or is what you have attraction, lust or excitement?
This question is not to make you feel guilty or scared. Attraction, lust and excitement are equally important parts of the human experience and it’s OKAY to enjoy them. But love…REAL love is a totally different thing. It’s not possessive, jealous or restrictive. It’s free of resentment, trusting, confident, expanding. This means that if what you have is real love, you should only want experiences for your partner that will help him or her to grow and get their most out of their experience…even if that means you’re not included in all of those experiences.
Who is responsible for your happiness?
The most common assumption is that marriage is a means to happiness. Otherwise, why would we be so eager to do it? We think that the false sense of security that the ring and license provide us will help us to more freely move through life, attaining happier experiences. But in reality, it’s the exact opposite. It ends up being restrictive because we begin exercising possessiveness since a piece of paper now tells us, “This person is MINE.” Hold up! Understand that you never own anything or anyone. You might not wake up tomorrow and then what? What did you ever truly HAVE? Once you realize that you never really have or own anything and this journey is so much more about soaking up the moment-to-moment experience of living, you can only come to the conclusion that feeling happy (or having any emotion really) is entirely YOUR choice. It is not your partner’s responsibility to make you feel any way through his or her actions or words. It’s YOUR responsibility to have the experience you want to have while you’re alive. So you choose your happiness, your grief, your worry, your path. All of it.
Here’s the thing (and I’ll leave you with this): By now you can probably get the sense that the person writing this isn’t naive or inexperienced. I’m not. I’ve personally been married for 8 years. Those years have been the messiest, sweetest, hardest, loveliest years of my life. If I had to sum up those years in one word, I would confidently use the word “challenging”. But out of the challenge, I’ve grown into a much better version of myself than I was prior. I’ve learned to embrace the difficult, savor the sweet and be grateful for all of it. Not perfectly of course, the learning never ends in this life. But if I can offer you some perspective from my own journey, it’s almost like I’m allowing you to time travel. Trust me when I say this: Open up now. Have the conversations now. Allow complete honesty now and should you still choose to get married, you’ll be starting off in a better spot than those who are too afraid to be real.
Image by Whitcomb Photography