So I was out the other night and met a young lady who was engaged to be married. After showing me her ring and telling me about her wedding plans, I asked her a very simple question: ”Why do you want to marry him?” She took an awkward pause and thought, and thought, and thought a little longer and her response was simply…”Because I know he wouldn’t leave me.” I thought for sure she must have misunderstood the question so I proceeded to ask her…”well what do you like about him that would make you want to marry him?” She paused again and to my unfortunate surprise she said “I’m not sure, let me think about it.” And guess who is still waiting on the answer to that question? I was around her for another hour and still no substantive answer.
Out of that interaction was born my motivation for writing this blog! Call me silly for thinking this, but if you are about to commit yourself to someone for the rest of your life and if I asked you why you are marrying them, you should be able to rattle that off pretty quickly; shouldn’t you? I believe we have a very fundamental problem in the world of building productive and healthy relationships when the only reason that a person can come up with as to why they are involved with someone is “because I know he wouldn’t leave me.” The more I coach, the more I realize that so many of our relationship decisions aren’t sustainable or productive because the decisions are coming from a fear of being alone.
Now I know what you all are thinking…well maybe he really is a good guy but she just had a brain freeze, or maybe this or maybe that! For all of you who are looking for a reason to discredit my take on this, I would ask you to take a moment to think about your own life, your own family, and your own friends. I can almost guarantee you that you know someone who is in a relationship, not because the person adds any value to their life, but because they fear the thought of spending their lives alone.
There are a few ironies that I think we must address though. How come it seems like we live in a “me, myself, and I” society that thrives on independence, yet many relationships are built off of fear of loneliness. There is this willingness settle for anything because of a fear of having nothing. The second irony is that when we choose to build relationships of little substance we ultimately end up feeling lonely even within that relationship. Those relationships end up causing more hurt than if you would just have remained alone until something substantive came along.
So as I continued the conversation with this young lady, she said something else that sent off my coaching radar senses: HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM! She said “well if this marriage doesn’t work out I will just get out of it like I did my first one.” I said hold up, wait, let’s back up a minute. Then I decided to just listen because I didn’t have time to dig deeper. Instead, I knew I would have something to write about which is this! How can we have commitments with caveats like that? When did we start leasing marriages and renting mates? Maybe I will save that for another blog though.
So what’s my point? My point is that just like they say that you shouldn’t make decisions when you are mad, you also shouldn’t choose mates just because you are lonely and think they won’t leave you. We must get comfortable being uncomfortable. Being alone doesn’t mean you failed. It just means that you have had time to reflect and understand who you are and what you want, so that when someone asks you “why do you want to marry him/her?” you will be able to list so many things that they might have to nicely ask you to SHUT UP! You should want to be with someone not because they will never leave you, but rather because you don’t want to live without them.
BMWK Get involved in the conversation: If someone asked you why you are marrying your fiancé what things would you say or want to be able to say?
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