Monday, March 4, 2013

Our quickie wedding wasn't so quick.

My husband, Ariel, and I just hit the six month mark, and all I keep thinking is, how is it possible that some couples get divorced before they are together even a year??

Our situation (great choice of words) was unique. Our families (my immediate and his uncle's) grew up with each other. My husband and I lived in two different countries, so we didn't meet in person until we spoke online for almost two months. We went on three official dates (got engaged on the second one), and got married five months after our engagement.

Many people we know say that it happened really quickly, but it doesn't feel that way to us. Since we spoke for those two months prior to meeting, we actually got to know each other. I mean KNOW. We spoke about everything important (and some unimportant things as well). But it makes me wonder... how do people get married nowadays?

They date for years (I'm formerly guilty of this) and then, maybe, get married. But they don't really know each other. Worse yet, they know each other but refuse to admit to themselves that it isn't a good fit, and then get married because it's expected.

Neither is healthy.

Here are my thoughts after being a serial monogamist for 16 years: People need to be brutally honest with themselves, and only then will they be able to be honest with others. A spouse is someone with whom you are going to spend fifty years! Think long term. Be true to yourself. Decide what you can compromise on, and what you REALLY can't. Decide what is a habit (changeable) and what is character (not generally changeable). BTW, don't unilaterally volunteer to tell the other person about everything in your past. There may be things they don't need to know or things they consciously decide they don't need to know. Respect that decision as they should respect yours. Sometimes sharing is not caring.

Keep in mind that you should be happy with the person exactly the way they are right now, this very moment. Chances are they aren't going to change too much. Keep in mind they should be happy with who you are right now. Chances are you aren't going to change too much either, and you shouldn't change your character (unless you're a bully, a jackass, etc).

You should also be happy with who you are. Ask yourself this question. Ask yourself whether you are comfortable around your partner; whether you change your behavior when you're around them, whether you respect them and LIKE them as a person (and not just love them).

From the outsider's perspective, Ariel and I may have acted quickly, but there was so much thought, questioning, honesty, and communication bandying about that, in truth, we knew each other better on our wedding day than most long-term couples do. We have never stopped this intentional act of communicating and though I know I'm speaking for him, I can say that we will always both try to do our part to continue this for the next ninety years.

I want us to be one of those cute older couples that walks around holding hands; one of those couples who are approached by younger ones asking what our secret is. The secret is simple (note: simple does not mean easy). But then again, the best things in life are the ones that take a lot of work and attention.