The most important marriage you will ever have is with you? What?! Culture tells us from a young age that one day we’ll find our magical person, our better half, the individual who will complete us and ultimately fulfill our purpose. They will rescue us from the ugliness of life, from our evil stepmother and stepsisters, and awaken us from our slumber, to finally be fully alive with them and live happily ever after. Then at some point in adolescents, we learn through either life experience, or Netflix, that if someone doesn’t make us happy anymore, or if we “fall out of love” (why are we falling, when else in life is falling ever considered a good thing…more on this later) its natural, you simply move on to the next person who can fulfill those needs within you. Here’s the catch, no one will ever be able to fulfill those needs within you except YOU!
This is why your outer perception of self and inner self must marry in order to achieve authentic self-awareness. Does this mean Holy Matrimony is less important? Of course not, but it isn’t fair to your future spouse, your marriage, or your family if you cannot first answer the question, who are you? You cannot bring a false self to an altar. You have to do the hard work first. Have you done the hard work, have you allowed yourself to feel pain, to suffer, to grow from it? Or have you ignored it, numbed yourself to it, and made excuses? Do you know what your triggers or trauma responses are? Have you established healthy boundaries? These are the tough questions we need to answer in our marriage with ourselves but sadly we end up divorcing our true authentic selves and fall in love head first becoming what we think the other person wants from us or what the culture expects of us.
As young ladies raised in a patriarchal society we learn from a young age to be second, to people please, to put others before ourselves while I agree with the fact that to serve others is to love, it should not be at the cost of losing who you are as a person. The best example I can give of this is a scene from the movie, Runaway Bride. Richard Gere plays Ike Graham, a journalist who is writing an article about a woman who has left a line of fiances at the altar. Upon interviewing this “runaway bride”, Maggie, played by Julia Robert, he gets to know her and notices a pattern that he expresses through her breakfast choice, eggs to be exact. With each fiance Maggie has her eggs prepared differently, with one it was scrambled eggs, with another, fried eggs, and with the third fiance, she took her eggs over easy, with her last fiance, it was egg whites only. She changed who she was in order to be what each of those men wanted in a spouse, so much so that when Richard Gere asked her how she liked her eggs she was speechless, she didn’t know how she actually liked her eggs prepared.
There is nothing sexier than a man or woman who has done the hard work. Those who have allowed themselves to identify any abuse in their past. Who have worked through it, ultimately removing that control/substance from their life, who knows who they are, what their emotional needs are, how to meet their own needs and happiness, who doesn’t masquerade around as an adult with an inner needy child but rather is an actual adult. Then and only then should one enter into Holy Matrimony realizing that they do not need anything from their mate but rather want to grow together and be witness to one another’s growth and will the good in the other. That being said, one must be extremely cautious. Not only is there a fine line between confidence and cockiness, but there are a lot of “runaway” brides and grooms out there…once you have done the hard work and you know who you are you will be more attractive and must be cautious of the magnetism you might attract. So how does one go about removing all the BS when courting or dating? Get REAL! We live in a consumerist society, everyone is fake when they first meet, and they present their false self. So first and foremost, don’t get caught up in the car they drive, their clothes, the trips they could take you on, their charm or dimples, remove the materialism and superficiality from the table.
If your purpose for dating is to find a spouse, be upfront and honest right off the bat. If your intentions for dating are simply to get out of the house a couple times a month and enjoy the company of another person while participating in an activity or experience, say so, and BE HONEST! Expressing your expectations from the beginning means you are not wasting your time or their’s and that is something you should both appreciate. Once you have each expressed your purpose for dating and they align and it is to find a spouse be as real and raw as you can, inquire about the work they are doing and I’m not talking about their profession, their interior work. Are they holding onto others’ expectations of themselves? Fulfilling the role others want of them? Do they want to get married because the culture says it is what they should do now, do they feel pressure from family or friends? Talk about any trauma or abuse, how did they work through that, have they worked through that? What would they say are triggers they are currently working on? What is their relationship with social media? Discuss boundaries, how would they define boundaries? How do they establish boundaries with their parents family and friends? What do they think a spouse’s role should be in a marriage? (If they mention happiness, RUN!) Only once you have honest answers to these questions will all the others be answered, including finances, religion, and politics. If someone knows who they truly are, their inner self, they know if they have misplaced happiness in material goods and perhaps spend too much, they know if they are struggling with addiction and what the triggers are, perhaps their anxiety escalates when on social media and are going cold turkey. Bottomline, you know when someone is doing the work and when they’re not, and often, the one key element that will really solidify the answer, time! Give it time, a person can only keep up a charade for so long.
You will know you have found someone who has done the hard work because there will not be the insecurities, need for control, or manipulation, for you to fulfill a void or hole within them, and a beautiful intimacy can occur when two individuals both know who they are!