Sunday, January 6, 2013
Eleven years married
"True love isn't something you find. It's something you are capable of." --Dan Savage
Savage also frequently says that there is no "one," only a .8 that you round up to one. His point is that we shouldn't wait around for Mr. Right, and we shouldn't hang on to a relationship that isn't working for us because this might be "the one" and if we screw it up, we'll never find true love.
He's right, but there is an element of "finding" that is important too. I don't believe that Hopper is "the one" in the sense that there is only one man in the world I could have made my life with. I'm sure if I hadn't married him, I would have married someone else. But there are a LOT of people I couldn't make a successful marriage with (I dated several of them) and finding one of the few people who sits in the Venn diagram overlap between "people I can live with" and "people who can live with me" was challenging, to say the least.
Once you meet one of those few people, that's when you decide if you will round him up to "the one." You have to choose carefully, because the wrong person can really screw up your life. But Savage is right that it's a choice, and then you have to put in the effort to make it happen. There isn't some magical person out there, the finding of whom will make you happy for all eternity. Hopper is a good man. He's Jewish and comes from the same town I grew up in, so we have a lot of the same expectations about life. And (oh, yeah) I love him. I married Hopper because my left brain saw the sense in marrying him and my right brain wanted to do it. Today is our eleventh anniversary, and I can say in retrospect that it was a good decision.
There are other myths about marriage. People think it will make you happy. It won't.
Don't get me wrong--I love being married, and Hopper and I have what most people would describe as a happy marriage. But it's just a lifestyle. Marriage is a choice to make a new family. That's all. You're still you and still in charge of your own happiness. Sure, the wrong marriage can make you miserable, and it's a good idea to try to bring cheer to your spouse when you can--the occasional, unexpected chocolate purchase can go a long way. It's also important to monitor your spouse and help out when grief or depression takes over, as they can, or when something like the wrong job is dragging them down and making them less than they can be. In those ways, marriage can make your life better.
For me, marriage makes me happy because I like having someone to share things with. Well, not things--I'm really bad at sharing things--but experiences. And chores. I LOVE having someone to share the chores. (And by share, I mean do almost all of them so I can sit around and blog.) I like living in a family situation. I like co-parenting (most of the time) and eating family dinners and being able to break out a game for three people and having two other people in the house to play with me.
But nothing about me really changed when I got married. Hopper and I didn't live together before we were married, so that was new, but he moved into my apartment, so aside from having to share my stuff, it wasn't much of a change. I still woke up in the same bed and went to work at the same job. Of course, Hopper has a huge influence on who I am and what I do, because I chose him to be the most important person in my life (and then demoted him when we adopted Boo.)
It's my job to make me happy, not Hopper's, and not our marriage's.