I've lately come to the conclusion that marriage isn't for me after only being married for a year and a half.
Continue reading before you make any assumptions.
When we were both 15, I met my wife in high school. We were friends for ten years until...until we decided we didn't want to be friends any longer. I strongly advise best friends to fall in love. Everyone will have a good time.
Nonetheless, being in love with my best friend didn't stop me from having some concerns about getting married. The closer Kim and I got to make the decision to marry, the more terrified I became. Was I prepared? Was I making the best decision? Was Kim a good match for you? Would she be able to make me happy?
Advice from my father
Then, one fateful night, I told my father about my worries and fears.
Perhaps each of us has had periods in our lives when time seems to slow down, the air feels motionless, and everything around us seems to close in on us, marking that moment as one we will never forget.
My father's response to my concerns was a watershed moment for me. "Seth, you're being very selfish," he replied with a knowing smile. So I'll just tell you straight up: marriage isn't for you. Marriage isn't about making yourself happy; it's about making someone else happy. More than that, you're marrying for a family, not just for yourself. Not just for the sake of the in-laws and all that stuff, but also for the sake of your future children. Who do you want to enlist to assist you in raising them? Who do you want to have an impact on them? You're not cut out for marriage. It has nothing to do with you. It's all about the person you marry."
I knew right then and there that Kim was the appropriate girl for me to marry. I knew I wanted to make her happy every day; I wanted to see her smile and giggle every day. My family wanted her to be a part of ours, and I wanted to be a part of hers. And, remembering all the times I'd seen her play with my nieces, I knew she was the one I wanted to start our own family with.
My father's suggestion was both surprising and enlightening. It went against today's "Walmart ideology," which states that if something doesn't make you happy, you can return it and get a new one.
It's never about you in a true marriage (or true love). It's all about the person you care about—their goals, needs, hopes, and dreams. "What's in it for me?" demands selfishness, but Love asks, "What can I give?"
You're not cut out for marriage.
My wife demonstrated what it means to love selflessly a long time ago. My heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and bitterness for months. Then, when the strain had reached a point that neither of us could take it anymore, emotions erupted. I was a jerk. I was self-centered.
Instead of mirroring my selfishness, Kim did something very remarkable: she demonstrated an outpouring of love. She gently held me in her arms and calmed my spirit, putting aside all of the grief and misery I had caused her.
I realized I'd forgotten about my father's counsel. While Kim's side of the marriage had always been about her love for me, mine had become all about myself. This horrible conclusion made me cry, and I told my wife that I would try harder.
I want you to know that marriage isn't for you, whether you're married, almost married, single, or even a sworn bachelor or bachelorette. There is no true love relationship for you. It's all about the person you care about.
And, strangely enough, the more you love that person, the more love you receive. Not just from your significant other, but also from their friends, family, and thousands of other people you would never have met if your love had stayed self-centered. You aren't cut out for love or marriage. It's for the benefit of others.
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