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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thoughts on Marriage

I have been having a lot of discussions lately about marriage. I have a lot of single friends, so it seems to be a pervading topic. I was talking to someone last night who is divorced. He was telling me how, during his engagement and leading up to his wedding to his ex-wife, he became depressed and knew that he was not marrying the right person. He spent six or seven years married to a woman that he told me he never really loved. He appreciated many qualities about her, and thinks that she is a wonderful person, but he never had a strong emotional attachment and love for her. Hearing this story scared the heck out of me. Why did he marry someone who he knew was the wrong person? Societal pressure, family pressure, not wanting to hurt the other person involved - I guess all of these could be reasons. But seven years and three children later, wouldn't it have been better to stop things before they had really started? It made me wonder how many other people I know who are married feel this way. How many people I know who possibly wonder, though don't admit it, if they made a mistake and married the wrong person, a person they respect and appreciate, but perhaps don't love. I have heard the story before, but with different results. I was speaking with a friend the other day about marriage, and what we are looking for, and how we are scared that the right person isn't out there, but we are more scared of settling. Often I think that I would rather be lonely by myself than be with someone who I knew in my heart wasn't the right one. Because it wouldn't be fair to myself to be with someone I knew wasn't right, and it wouldn't be fair to the other person either. When I get sick of hearing the goal of "marriage" pop up in every conversation, even when not related to the topic of discussion, I question why it is so important to get married. Beyond having children, my friend and I were talking about how being part of a marriage, a partnership, would hopefully enable us to fulfill our purpose as human beings at a greater level, and with more ease. I was saying that I feel like my purpose for this life is to positively affect and touch other people's lives on an individual basis. That is why I decided to go into school counseling - in order to help and give hope and support to children during their difficult growing years. And I had to admit that if that is truly my purpose, then being married could enable and possibly help me do that on a higher and more effective plane. I feel that if I was working as a partner in a team, I would have more support to enable me to touch more lives. I could share the mundane details with someone else, the other person could meet more people that we could touch, we could hopefully be a good example for others of two people who work together and offer a warm home and open hearts to others. I would have more emotional support to help me deal with the difficulties of being in a helping profession. And I would feel like I am offering those same things to my husband, therefore making me feel as if my life was being more meaningful as well. Marriage does make sense in the context of attempting to attain one's purpose in life, and the truth is, I had never really thought about it that way before. So now I know I am looking for someone with whom I would be better able to fulfill my purpose in life,and who I could help fulfill theirs. But how do I know whether someone would fit into that role? Is it obvious when you meet the right one? Does their presence in your life just inspire you to strive for reaching your goals?

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