Firstly, I know that the horse is dead. We beat it. We beat the horse to death, and now it’s gone. HOWEVER, I am still going to talk about this much-talked-about topic; and hopefully I’ll provide new insight into it.
I’m sure that we’re all wise enough to know that that laundry list of character must-haves that we’ve held on tightly to throughout the bulk of our single lives is a lie. We aren’t going to find that picture perfect spouse, because that embodiment of perfection doesn’t exist. You know that the perfect spouse doesn’t exist, and by now you’ve more than likely come to realize that not only isn’t your spouse perfect, but he or she is a human that will fail you too.
Despite knowing all of this, we still hold on tightly to the idea that our spouses will totally fulfill our lives. That marriage is indeed the gateway to happily ever after. Some of us still believe that once we get married, then and only then, will we be on the path to true happiness and bliss. If you’re one of the many that believe this, I hate to tell you, but you’re dead wrong.
Marriage is a blessed union of two souls. Marriage is a beautiful thing. Marriage is not, however, a mythical happy pill with the remedy for life’s blues. Just think about it: you’ve dedicated your entire life to making things work with another flawed person – for better AND for worse. Even when reciting those vows, few of us dare to envision what the “for worse” could look like. For some, “for worse” means working through infidelity. For others, “for worse” is maintaining a marriage while dealing with death in the family. “For worse” could even mean staying together after a spouse loses his/her job, and dealing with financial struggle.
But, let's get back to this list. The infamous checklist. Here's why it doesn't work: whether we want it to be or not, marriage is a lifelong learning experience. And no one will ever fit perfectly into a solitary and restrictive list that we've created. Our spouses will challenge and change us in unimaginable ways, thus molding us into new people. This molding of sorts is our becoming less of ourselves and more of a unit with them.
How can you expect to learn and grow when you've got it all figured out? Believe it or not, the "list" is a way of putting your spouse into a neat and prohibitory little box. Your marriage is a unique experience to be lived. Your spouse is that lucky person that you've chosen to join with you on that journey. Throw that list away. Because for this particular journey, it is not applicable.
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