Wanna know what I think about people who use terms like “the old ball and chain” or “tied down” to describe married life? Idiots. Many people find the idea of committing to another human being for life crazy because they cannot begin to imagine that it could be anything positive. Maybe they had parents who fought all the time and hated each other as an example but stayed married “for the kids,” or maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with a poor example of married life at all and simply comes down to the blatant fact that people are selfish. The thought of giving up even one small iota of what I want could never, ever be a good thing, right? The saddest part is that because of the many negative connotations that seem to go along with marriage these days, many, many people are missing out. They are dating and living with someone for decades without making a commitment, they’re married but allowing their marriage to completely suck and doing nothing to make it better, or they are simply not even bothering to have any relationships of substance because they just want to “have fun.” I honestly feel that the biggest consequence of this societal cheapening of marriage is that so many people have begun to settle. And settling is never good.
Last week, we celebrated 8 years of marriage, 12 years as a couple. We met at 16, started dating at 18 and got married at 22. I understand how for many people these days that sounds freakishly young, but for us it was right. Now, I certainly don’t think that getting married at 22 is right for everyone. Each person is different, each couple’s story is different. Isn’t that what makes it fun? All of this to say that I kissed this man for the first time 12 years ago and I’ve never wanted to stop. I still think he’s funny, totally hot, and there is no other who even comes close to knowing me as well as he does. When we said our vows 8 years ago, we didn’t commit to just kind of “trying” to make it work, or coasting through the years. We didn’t leave an “out” in case things didn’t work out. Instead, we promised to work hard, everyday, even on the days we didn’t feel like it and not to settle for anything other than a I want to rip your clothes off/giggling on the couch to inside jokes/crying with each other when things are hard/enjoying our children grow and change/and making sure to always kiss each other goodnight.
We are not perfect, but we are committed. Nothing about our marriage is boring and nothing about it reminds me of chains, balls, or rope. If you are married and feel like your marriage is weighing on you, do something about it. If you aren’t married and have some really lame stereotypical ideas about marriage, go talk to people who think otherwise, who have marriages that don’t make you want to take a permanent vow of celibacy. And if you’ve been with him/her for years and say stupid things like “we just like how things are,” or “we just don’t want to ruin how great things are,” wake up, drop those ridiculous excuses, and um, fish or cut bait!
I want to give marriage the respect it deserves. It isn’t just some legality and it isn’t for all the tax breaks. I love my husband, and I love that we’re married. 8 years is just the beginning, babe. Glad we’re in it for the long haul.