You were nervous as you walked down the aisle, normal for a young bride. But you knew, there was more to it.
He went home that Christmas break and picked out a ring.
You couldn’t accept it. It made it all too real. You didn’t want to be married. Ever.
It must have broken his heart.
You were sure you didn’t want to lose him. You talked, you cried, you negotiated. You gave in. You were engaged.
You would be married the year after graduation. There was plenty of time.
Until there wasn’t. His job offer was thousands of miles from home. The decision came. You would marry before his December start date.
It was happening. There was no backing down now.
The ceremony, the reception, the hundreds of well wishers…you don’t remember any of it. You floated over it all in a sort of daze. It was November 17.
You spent Thanksgiving with families, packed your VW bus, and headed to Utah. It was supposed to be your honeymoon. It was very stressful.
And you were still terrified that you had made a mistake.
You didn’t understand then. That realization came later.
It was never about you and him. It was about marriage.
You had heard the message your entire life, and you internalized it.
Marriage will destroy your life. It takes away your dreams, robs you of your true self, kills your self esteem, wrecks your plans. And most especially, it makes you crazy. You will be depressed, you will take ill. He won’t understand. He will escape. He will find solace in others. He will cheat. You will be left alone with the burden of children you really didn’t want in the first place. You will be trapped.
That was the message, reinforced for decades. Your family legacy.
But there was another side. His reality. His view of married life. He saw a very different kind of partnership in his parents. He wanted that life for both of you.
The first few years will be a challenge, and a blessing. You will be physically isolated from the families you knew. You will make or break it on your own.
It won’t always be easy. There will be times that you both want to escape. But you will not.
There will be many more relocations, many new places to start over. New jobs, new stresses, family tragedies. There will also be new friends, new hopes, new dreams.
New joys. Children.
And you will celebrate your relationship.
Some 45 years and counting.