Should she or shouldn’t she? (That is the question)

My youngest daughter is getting married. She and Johnny ditched the traditional courtship and went straight to starting a family. So with two kids, their own house, and a foundation for a happy life, why get married now?

I have been married more than once and have come to the conclusion that maybe I’m not the marrying type. So I am curious why Lori and Johnny want to get married.

“I love him and we want to make it legal,” was her reply.

She said she knows they don’t have to get married. Society has made it quite acceptable to live together and have children “out of wedlock.” (Incidentally, they were “married” by a Buddhist monk, which isn’t legal, but they are married in the eyes of Johnny’s family, who are Laotian.)

But marriage seems to be the next step for them. (My oldest daughter has three children with her significant-other, and I’m not sure they will ever get married. But that’s OK, too.)

At Lori’s bridal shower, we played a game where those attending wrote marriage advice on a piece of paper, and then they were read by Lori.

The advice included, “Never go to bed angry,” “listen to each other,” and “compromise,” but the one that received the most laughter was, “Always sleep naked.”

But while some of the advice was meant to be comical, much of the advice was sincere and offered realistic insight to what a marriage is about. My advice included working together to find solutions to their problems, but there was so much more I wanted to tell her.

What I learned from being married didn’t come until after I was divorced. Being able to see my part in why the marriage failed prepared me for future relationships. I learned how my attitude about my relationship had a lot to do with how I reacted in certain situations.  I saw how being able to communicate and be honest about how we feel is crucial in being able to work together to reach common goals. I realized that equality in relationships is essential in staying together; everything has to be 50-50.

But it’s not just what you do in a marriage that will determine its success. Attitudes about relationships and love also play a part in how your view your marriage, such as what kind of marriage your parents had and your beliefs about what marriage is really all about.

Every little girl wants her own fairy-tale, and that doesn’t seem to change as we mature. Movies, such as “The Vow,” and “The Notebook,” tug at our hearts and makes us want that kind of love for ourselves. But many waste a lot of time and energy running after something that isn’t real.

For years I searched for that kind of love. it was only after countless heartaches that I realized that my efforts were pointless. The kind of love I was looking for didn’t exit. The idea that there is someone out there who will devote their life to you and fall at your feet every time you walk through the door is ridiculous.

But I have found something very close to the perfect relationship. We have a mutual respect, a live-my-own-life, do-what-I-want kind of relationship that allows me to have it all. We have our own space, but we know the other is there when we need them. We have a lot of fun, too.

Marriage? Maybe it isn’t for me, but I know how Lori feels. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t for her and Johnny. I hope it does, because I know couples who have been married 50-60 years and have something I will never have. But I guess I can’t have it both ways.

(Below is a clip from Lori’s Bachelorette Party. It has very little to do with this blog, but it is hilarious.)

Lori’s video