…Are you marrying him or her for any other reason than love?
It wasn’t love at first sight; at least, not for her. But he seemed to be instantly smitten. After a common friend introduced them and went out on a group date, he wanted to ask her out immediately. She said she was busy, which we all know is code for “not interested.” It was fine, he got over it, although it took some time.
Flash forward a few years later and he was surprised to get a text from her one day about something mundane. It started out innocently enough—comments and likes on each other’s social media accounts and near-constant text messages about this and that. Eventually they did go out, once, and then often. Before anybody could figure out what was happening, they were officially a couple.
Two or three anniversaries later and they were ready to take the next step. At least, he was. He popped the question one fine day in May. She said yes.
“He popped the question one fine day in May. She said yes.”
It was a short engagement. The date was set just a few months later, when friends and family all made the trip to a beautiful church outside Manila to watch her walk down the aisle to marry who we all thought was the man of her dreams. They professed their love, they kissed, they drank, they danced, and all their friends were there to witness the beginning of forever.
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But things started to unravel during the honeymoon. She became irritable and aloof. He wondered what was wrong. She was just tired, she said. He offered to drive her to work so that’s one less thing to exhaust her, but she said ‘no thanks.’ He brought up the thought of having kids and she balked. She couldn’t even take care of herself, she said, how could she raise a child?
The turning point came when she asked for time to be with herself—what she called “me time.” He couldn’t understand. They were a married couple; they didn’t have to be together all the time, but asking to be alone for an extended period of time just wasn’t part of the deal.
“…she asked for time to be with herself—what she called “me time.”
And so, just over a year after that happy December day, when they promised to be together til death do them part, she packed her bags and moved back in with her folks. He was devastated. What had he done wrong? Was there some unspoken rule he had broken? Most of all: had she ever really loved him?
Clearly the answer was no. Or maybe she did—once—but something significant happened between then and her decision to call it quits. What it was is anybody’s guess.
Relationships are tricky. Each one is unique, except for the presumption of affection each party has for the other, which is the basis for getting into one in the first place. And the decision to formalize that union through the sanctity of marriage, although clearly not for everyone, is the ultimate test of conviction and faith in each other. Marriages break up all the time, sure, but often it’s for reasons more substantial than, “I don’t know, I just fell out of love.”
Familiarity breeds contempt, as the old saying goes, but in the case of marriage, the commitment to stay together ought to trump any lingering thoughts of splitting up. Otherwise, why get married in the first place?
So, for anyone thinking of taking the plunge and entering into that sacred covenant called matrimony, ask yourself one question:
“Are you marrying him or her for any other reason than love?”
Companionship, security, somebody to share those home and car payments with—those are all valid motives for getting hitched. But if the foundation isn’t there—if you even have to think about whether you love the other person or not, then listen to me carefully:
Don’t do it.
Spare the other person from a lifetime of hurt. Don’t be the person that causes anguish and pain by staying in a relationship when you’re riddled with uncertainty and doubt. Before you even ask for her hand—or say yes to his question—try to imagine a life with this person and see if that’s something you really, truly want. Really dig deep and sweep away any reservations with the simple thought of how happy you would be waking up next to this person every morning for the rest of your life.
Not everything has to be so crystal clear, true, and there are times when you’ll doubt yourself and rethink your choices, but when you take the time to assess your feelings, and identify love as the primary, overriding reason for marrying this person, you can breathe easy. That’s when you know you’re ready.
If not, do everybody—including yourself—a favor and say no. Trust me when I say you and your partner will be all the better for it.
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*This story was first published in February 2019
Words Matt Leopoldo
Art Alexandra Lara