I am in one of the most exciting times of my life so far. Some big changes are happening, and I am loving experiencing them. While these exciting things are so much fun, they are also a little overwhelming.
I am sure that I am not the only person out there who has felt that way about life changes, but especially about the life change that I am about to embark on – marriage. I would like to preface talking about my fears and struggles with the concept of committing for life by saying that my future husband is amazing. He is my best match, my closet friend, and the only person in the world that I love enough to say ‘I Do’ to.
On Being Single
I never saw myself as single forever, but I did not expect to be ending my singleness so early on in my life. I thought that eventually I would find someone and settle down and start a family with, but I expected to watch my friends marry and begin those steps before me. Being single wasn’t a title that I was in a hurry to get rid of. There is so much to love about singleness and about not having someone else’s feelings to consider when making decisions. Making a name for yourself all on your own. I took so much pride in not needing another human being to make me feel completed, even when I was seeing someone. This pride has become something that is difficult to let go of in the switch to a lifetime of monogamy.
On Losing My Individuality
I recognize that the capacity in which I found comfort in my own autonomy could actually lead to a rift in my future marriage unless I tackle it head-on before it gets the better of me. I have seen so many married couples bicker about things that clearly stem from one, or both, of them feeling scared of losing themselves. They then feel the need to exert their freewill in manipulative, controlling ways.
I can see this behavior in myself as well. So why did I take so much pride in not needing a male counterpart to get me through life? To prove that I can, in fact, do it alone? To overcompensate for a society that is telling us (especially women) that there is something to be fixed about us when we are alone? Because the feminist in me feels more comfortable doing life without the help of a man? Playing the independence card has become part of my identity, and it is scary to have to swap out that card for one of partnership and solidarity. I’m good at dictating the way that I want circumstances to play out. I’m not so good at being humble and letting things happen the way that some else wants them to happen.
I desperately want to bring each of my insecurities about commitment into the light, because I want to go into my future marriage on the best foundation that I can create. There are so many reasons that I decided to say yes to spending the rest of my life with my fiancé, and I want to enjoy them all. I want to bring the positive aspects of my independent mindset with me and leave the parts that could negatively affect my relationship behind.
One of my married friends was talking about the changes that she has seen in herself, and in her husband, in the time they have been married. She was explaining the difference between trying to change someone into a different person, and the subtle changes that happen when you are blending your life with someone else’s. “A lot of those changes aren’t conscience ones. You just soften.” Soften. I love that. I need that.
On Compromise and Happiness
I really am a better person with my fiancé in my life. If I had let my pride tell me that I should be alone for longer, I would have missed out on that. I know that I do not need my relationship to define me or complete me, but I also know that I don’t need to constantly prove that about myself. Writing about this subject has made me realize that so much of my unkindness and my stubbornness has really been an attempt to prove to myself and to others that I don’t need him. It is extremely unhealthy for my own heart, and for my relationship, to continue to do that. So, I am going to begin to open myself up to being continually softened by my relationship.
I recognize that I will frequently have to remind myself that it is alright to lose a little of my independence in someone else and find some of my identity in my partnership. It does not mean that I am less of a whole, capable person. It means that I have another person there to back me up when I need some support.