I know this will come as a huge surprise to those who know me, but recently? I turned down work.
I know, right? Shocking.
I was approached by a small magazine to write an article about relationships. Because, I guess, I wrote a book about relationships. Failed, horrible, tragic relationships, mind you, but I guess that part doesn't matter.
They wanted me to write about marriage. Happy marriage. Successful relationships. Love. And crap like that.
After laughing several hours, I politely declined. I'll leave that kind of writing to people who feel like they understand. Because I? Don't understand marriage.
I understand attraction. I totally get that. The very first minute I ever laid eyes on my husband I felt something between well then and BAZINGA! I think it was his teeth. He has the nicest teeth ever.
I sort of understand love, I think. I understand taking someone into your heart and letting them become your family. I understand loving someone even when they are not behaving the way you want them to behave. When their family doesn't welcome or accept you. When things get really, really crappy and hard. Still loving them. Not mistaking being a doormat for loving someone, but really, honestly wanting the best for the other person and even accepting when it might not be you or anything you can do. Even when knowing that sucks.
It's saying "Things won't always be this way. But I'll always love you."
I had a failed marriage before I had this marriage. They are two things that are so vastly different I can't even begin to compare the two. One was a farce. One is much too real sometimes.
So I am unqualified to give any advice or help or anything like that. What I will give you (totally for free!) is some advice on what you shouldn't do based upon my own piss-poor decisions and all the other crap I sometimes see and have to roll my eyes really hard about. Deal?
If he's proposed three times and you have two kids together and you're pissed because the ring wasn't exactly what you wanted? Yeah. Don't get married. Seriously. Don't get married. Not to this guy and probably not to any guy for a very long time. Because it's not about the damn ring and it's not about the perceived romance of the proposal and it's not even a little bit about the wedding. None of that is important. It's just not.
If you hate him? Don't marry him. Okay, really. I know this sounds super obvious, but it's apparently not. Hate and discontent really suck. Living with hate and discontent will make you really freaking unhappy. Don't marry someone you can't stand because you are afraid to break up. That's just ridiculous.
Don't marry someone hoping, wishing and/or praying they will change. Dating is the time during which you are on your best behavior. If your significant other is a huge cockslap during that time period? It's not going to get any better after you put a ring on it.
If you have to look through his wallet, cellphone, Facebook friends list, and pants pockets every night? You don't trust him. And you shouldn't marry him. I don't know how to make that any clearer except to say...who wants to live that way? Constant fear can't be good for you. Okay maybe it's good for your colon. But what good is colon health when the rest of you is a stressy mess?
Above all, if you want a fairytale? Marriage is not for you.
I've been married seven years, six months and two days. In the grand scheme of things that seems like a drop in the bucket. Sometimes? It feels like a very long time. A very, very long time. Especially when those times involve someone's knee being in my back while I'm trying to sleep.
It's not a fairytale. It's never been that way for us. And quite honestly, I cringe when I think about all the things potentially ahead of us. Old age. Illness. Deaths in the family. Two teenagers obtaining drivers licenses at the same time. ON THE SAME DAY. Be still my soul.
But it's okay.
He's my family.
That's really all I know about being married. I think it's enough.