Into space without a bubble helmet*

how did you know your wife was the one to marry? can one be 100% sure to spend the rest of your life with that one person?

First, thanks for the Formspring love!  Second, I think this question is also sort of asking whether there’s just one person for everyone, or “the one”.  How did I know my wife was the one to marry?  Well, I’m not sure that she is the one, and I suppose that’s something of a controversial statement.

We talked about this a little bit at the APW Meetup a couple of weeks ago.  But how do you know that the person you’re marrying is the right person?

The thing that Turtle and I talked about is that we were the right people for each other right now.  Of course, the right person for the right time, in theory, changes over time; the person who is right for me at 25 may not be the person who is right for me at 50.  But the idea is that, by marrying, we are committing to work to be that person for each other.  We are both going to change (“the only constant is change” blah blah blah), but the idea is that we are going to try to do it in a way where we continue to fit with each other.

silly!

One person at the meetup asked how other people knew they were ready to marry their person, and one of the first things that came to my mind is The Hard Stuff.  It was getting through all the hard parts that made me sure that Turtle is the one I want to do all of it with for a really long time.  Of course the fun parts  are fun – the fun parts can be fun with a lot of different people.  You don’t have to have a huge connection to have a good time with each other.  But living through months and months of (involuntary) unemployment, dealing with deep depression, and getting through all of the smaller bumps along the way made us feel better about each other, stronger together.  She’s the person I want to lean on through all of the rough spots.

It’s not just the big things, though; it’s also the little ones, the “Why didn’t you put the dishes in the sink like you said you would” arguments.  With these, we’ve learned (and, I think, are always learning) to be gentle and to remember that we are always on the same team.  We’ve committed to letting these things go when it’s time, and not letting them fester.

she's ready to defend me from the world!

Before we decided to get married, we also committed, verbally and explicitly, to go to counseling together when things get hard.  As Mouse said, “You wouldn’t go into an exam without a pencil, would you? Or into a jungle without bug spray? Or into space without a bubble helmet? No. So why would you go into a marriage without a therapist? I think therapy is how I become my best self, and that process is incredibly important to all of my relationships, and most especially my marriage.”  I don’t know how to say it better.

What are your thoughts on this question?

*thanks for the title inspiration, Mouse.

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12 Comments

Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, Relationships

12 responses to “Into space without a bubble helmet*

  1. Julie

    Ahh, love this. I think you’re right on. My grandparents have been married for 60 years and are still very much in love. When anyone asks my grandpa their secret, or jokes about them being sick of each other, he says “She’s not the same woman I married 60 years ago. We’ve each been three or four different people since then. But every time one of us changed, we loved the new person.” That cracks me up, but with 60 happy years behind them and more to come, I think he definitely has a point!

  2. As much of a romantic as I am, I still cannot believe there is only one person out there for us. There are probably a bunch, but the person I’m going to marry has been the best I’ve found. Is there someone out there that is equally as great as him? Probably, but I found the Beagle first, so the Beagle is who I’m hitching myself to.

    Of course over the course of time, things change. You are definitely right. It’s important to talk as a couple about this change and both agree to continue to be there and support and love the other person even though we change. I definitely believe we have the power to control who we love. Sure we may not like changes our partner goes through, but by consciously committing ourselves to loving that person through their changes is important for a marriage to last.

    • “I still cannot believe there is only one person out there for us. There are probably a bunch, but the person I’m going to marry has been the best I’ve found.” EXACTLY.

      I think that committing to that change is SUCH a big part of what marriage IS.

  3. Kristine

    I agree with this. And I also love those shots of the two of you. 🙂

    The thing about being with my practically husband is, the more I get to learn about him, the more I love him. Years ago I didn’t think we’d have a future at all. I was 22 and I thought we had nothing in common. But now, after six years, it seems we have almost everything in common. As you said, we’ve changed together, for the better. Life and all it’s big and little stuff has ultimately brought us closer, not farther. That’s how I know.

  4. I’m with you — I don’t believe in “the one.” For all I know, had I not moved from Connecticut to Chicago 10 years ago, I would have found a different “one” back home. I knew I wanted to be with Brian when we made it through several really rough spells (including a one-year separation after dating only six months) and still wanted to be close to each other. We’ve been together nine years now — minus that one year — and married for three. I love him more every year, and I love the way we balance each other. We both push each other to be better and to do better, and I’ve found that over the years I have become a much nicer person in large part because of him. He is my “one” for now and hopefully forever.

    • “I love the way we balance each other. We both push each other to be better and to do better, and I’ve found that over the years I have become a much nicer person in large part because of him.”

      I love this! The balance is such a huge part of our relationship; I think that the changing we do doesn’t necessarily have to be together, but it does have to be complimentary.

  5. Allyson

    Right on, with excellent photographic support of your points! It’s surprising to me that people keep on saying “’til death do us part” and then get divorced. Why not just make a more restrained vow you can keep? I didn’t want to make a forever promise, since people/I change, but I believe that commitment to working through the tough things is really important if I’m not happy in my relationship. I don’t believe in “the one” existing for me either, but I believe that a strong foundation of compatibility, some awesome lust and lots of time spent growing together have been key elements in a happy relationship for me and my beloved.

    • “a strong foundation of compatibility, some awesome lust and lots of time spent growing together have been key elements in a happy relationship for me and my beloved.” I love this!

      The “’til death do us part” thing is really interesting. It’s not something that we promised (um, I think. haha.) but something I considered. There was a really interesting conversation on it on APW: http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/07/as-long-as-we-both-shall-live/.

      I think it’s really interesting how much we all have to think about how it might end when it begins. We talked a lot about, “What if we don’t make it?” and that conversation made us both feel better about TRYING to make it. And also had a lot to do with our therapists.

  6. mettapanda

    A few points of agreement from this corner.

    My dad said that he knew my hubby was ‘the one’ for me after one of my hospital stays. My future hubby (not even engaged yet) was at my bedside as often as possible, through recovery from surgery, knowing that this was symbolic of the “future” with me. So, yeah, going through the hard times together helps to forge a very tight bond – and it helps to weed out those who can’t hack it.

    I think we don’t have one soul mate, but many souls that we are in connection with in this and previous lives. So there’s more possibility for finding one that you will be very happy with, but you also have more responsibility for protecting and keeping solid your relationship, since someone could come along (for either of you) who looks pretty good.

    I can’t stress how much I agree with the counselor / therapy plan. In fact, I read somewhere that couples should go to therapy once a year for an annual check-up – like you would at your primary care doc or GYN – even if you think your relationship is in fantastic shape. It’s a good time to touch base, take the pulse of the relationship, find any small issues before they become big ones. My hubby and I started with a counselor during a rough patch, but now we go every 4-6 weeks as “maintenance.” With my health becoming more problematic (in the past year or so), it’s been invaluable to have someone who already knows me/us to be able to talk with through this process/time.

    • THIS is SUCH a good point: “I think we don’t have one soul mate, but many souls that we are in connection with in this and previous lives. So there’s more possibility for finding one that you will be very happy with, but you also have more responsibility for protecting and keeping solid your relationship, since someone could come along (for either of you) who looks pretty good.” I think that this can also create something really powerful, in that we have to (or get to?) choose our partner over and over, and that we do have responsibility. It seems like a lot of media tells us through silly TV shows and magazines and general societal messaging that once you’re married, you’ve “locked it in” and you can relax. That is SO different from the marriage we have decided to have; all of it is work, and all the work is worth it (even if sometimes we just don’t want to DO the work).

      One of my friends told me that when she started dating her now-wife, her family didn’t really approve… until she got into a pretty bad bicycling accident and her partner was there with her for the whole thing, taking good care of her and keeping her family updated. It’s the hard, messy, ugly parts that are the glue, I think, and the fun wonderful parts that are often the reward.

      Oooh I love the idea of regular “maintenance” therapy! We each have an individual therapist but it would probably be a good idea for us to find a couples person before we need one.

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