Relationships are funny. Especially if you’re a woman. I couldn’t be happier about starting my life with Shaun. Talking to some of my single friends lately, though, I get the impression that some think I’m “settling.”
Funny enough, I recently started reading a book recommended by a friend that looks at the way women approach dating, marriage and love. She said it should be required reading for women our age, and I definitely agree. “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” by Lori Gottlieb is not so much about “settling,” as the title implies, but learning to give up the impossible standards we set for the men we date and learn to be happy in our relationships, before it’s too late.
Most of what the book says is not revolutionary. In fact, it’s what I was raised to believe a good marriage should be. Teamwork based on love, respect and hard work. Fireworks fade, but real love grows out of the tough times. Alpha women today feel the need to pursue the Perfect Man who, of course, does not exist. While I definitely think of myself as a strong woman and I don’t necessarily agree with the moral of Gottlieb’s story (Learn to be happy in your relationships now or you will end up alone and unhappy at age 40+ when the men won’t want you any more), some of her arguments make sense. Love isn’t always a fantasy, and sometimes compromising in the present isn’t such a bad thing. If you find someone who you like spending time with and really care about, what else really matters?
I think that in many ways, wedding planning is a great indicator of how the marriage will function once the wedding is over. A lot of brides think of the wedding as their special day, the one day that all eyes will be on them and all of their dreams will come true. While this is true to an extent for Shaun and me, we have tried to make sure that we always refer to it as “our” wedding. Ultimately the day is not about either one of us individually, but our commitment to each other and the beginning of our lives together.
Instead of being my usual control-freak self, Shaun and I are splitting a lot of the wedding planning tasks. I’m in charge of picking a venue, he’s in charge of the officiant. I choose the ceremony cite, he picks the DJ and the limo service. And so on. And we’re working together on a lot of things too. Invitation designs and wording, guest list, music and eventually flowers and tuxes and cake. It’s a long process, but I’m happy that he’s here by my side and helping every step of the way. He doesn’t even seem to0 bored with it yet.
As the details of our wedding start to slowly fall into place (our reception hall, our ceremony site and most recently our officiant and musician for the ceremony), I’m realizing that it’s easy to get wrapped up in the magic of a wedding. It’s exciting. It’s happy. It’s one day where everyone will be there to celebrate Shaun and me as a couple. But that’s just it. It’s one day. No matter how perfect that day ends up being or how much fun we have, it is only one day. After it’s over, we’ll have the rest of our lives to remember and cherish it, but what’s important is what comes after the wedding. The Marriage.