This post continues the dissection of a happy marriage. First, I figured out a huge piece of the puzzle with “Don’t Love, Make Love”.
The second rule is a little more dour and was directly hinted at in #10 on this readable list on the Huffington Post (language warning), “15 Ways to Stay Married 15 Years”:
Accept that you have no options.
I had all the choices in the world open to me about who and when to marry, so where is the defining feature that says I made the right choice? Who’s to say if I hadn’t explored another choice, things would’ve turned out just as well, or better? And remember how easy it was to feel like maybe you found your soul-mate in your first high school love, because your world was so much smaller and you had so many fewer options?
There is a literally unending series of choices to make every day, and each generation is able to push off the date of making those decisions farther and farther, especially when it comes to marriage and starting a family.
So, you might be thinking What if I was just in a marrying mood? What if this is the wrong person for me, since I seem to have such great conversations at with so-and-so in the carpool?
I’ve got great news: Whether a matter of random, serendipitous fate or divinely inspired (Or perhaps Forrest Gump had it right, and it’s “a little bit of both”?), as of your marriage day, you have outsourced wondering who you should marry to your past self.
You have chosen the permanent boundaries of your happiness.
Yes, this limiting. No, you cannot flirt with dudes and take off for a weekend unhindered anymore.
By choosing to marry, you have chosen to live in a finite emotional and physical environment — a environment necessary for cultivating happiness. And the sooner you accept that and remove the possibility of leaving from your mind, you are free to be happy within your relationship.
Wait, what? Making choices and narrowing my options is necessary for happiness?
Nowadays, especially as a woman, we have an obscene number of choices compared to any other generation in the past. College? Technical School? Writer? Teacher? President?
While I personally am grateful for the sacrifice of generations that lead to these choices, for many girls they have been paralyzing. So until you wander through those high school years and beyond (college or not) you don’t really find a way to make choices unless something traumatic happens or enough time runs out and enough opportunities pass you by that you can make some choices without going insane.
So what does this depressing thought have to do with marriage?
Stick it out. For the happiest marriage possible, decide as a couple to surrender to your limits. Barring abusive an divorce or death, you have made the choice to bind yourself to one person, and must actively work towards that person’s happiness.
Making that choice opens pathways that were never before possible, as well as a glorious event you’ll find out about next week….
This series would not exist were it not for the generous ramblings of one Shenan Prestwich. Shenan is an overall awesome beer enthusiast, curator, and poet in the general Washington, DC area.
What do you think? Is it “giving up” to give up on options outside your marriage?