As a disclaimer to this post, I have never been married, and I’m not an authority on dating (ask any of my ex-boyfriends). But I am a twenty something, who is looking to marry, is a little frustrated with how that process has gone, and is the target audience for the “Marry Someone Who…” and “5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married” articles. (To anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, go Google “Who you should marry”…you’ll be back to finish reading this in about ten hours).
Let me start by saying, I love these articles. If you’re someone who has written one of these, or you’re a married person who read one nodding your head and saying “Preach!”, I appreciate you. Since I’ve never been married, I appreciate you cluing me in on the real deal. And as much as I can from my single standpoint, I agree with you.
I agree that my generation has often made dating superficial. That our expectations are too high. That we are sometimes too focused on ourselves to marry. That we don’t consider what will really matter in a marriage. And that we put too much weight on chemistry and puppy love.
That being said, while I appreciate the dose of reality, and the reminder that I need to marry someone who will support me, communicate with me, and help me to the bathroom when I’m old, I don’t want us to now be so focused on the qualities that matter, that we forget there are other factors at play.
Let me explain. I’ve dated that guy before. The guy who would have been there. He would have supported me. He would have been a great father. He communicated with me. But he wasn’t the guy for me. He had valid flaws that I couldn’t have lived with (I swear, it wasn’t just that he picked Jasmine over Mulan as his favorite Disney princess…though that is an egregious choice). I would have had to make sacrifices for him that I knew I would have resented him for later. And overall, something inside me said it just wasn’t right.
Not only have I encountered a guy in my past who was the spitting image of the man these articles describe, but I actually know a few guys now who make the cut. They’ll be great husbands. Just not for me. Why? Because of where we are in life, my gut says “not him”, there are important issues we just can’t get along about, or we tried, and just couldn’t get out of “the friend zone”.
I’ve been asked many times about each of these guys because everyone, including me, sees their potential as a great husband. And honestly, I sometimes feel guilty or like there’s something wrong with me for not choosing them. But despite their qualities of a great husband, I think there’s still room for me to say “yes, but just not mine” or “yes, but not right now” . (granted, I may end up eating those words one day when the time is right. Enter: My mother saying “I told you so”).
So while I appreciate those helping my generation to get over our superficiality and see that someone right in front of us could be our match, don’t let us overlook what else you probably hope will exist for us on our wedding days: a sense of peace that we are doing the right thing, an excitement for who we are with, and a love that runs deep.
Don’t let us swap out our checklists of superficial qualities for more meaningful ones, and leave out the consideration and importance of timing, of intuition, of compatibility, and more than anything, of falling in love.