I'm looking at you, Marriage

I have made my feelings about children well-known to those in my life who may be affected...
I've decided not to have kids. Ever.
For real. This is not a phase.

(Thinks for a moment)
Probably for the best.


However, when it comes to marriage, I am still on the fence. I absolutely love the idea of marriage. I really do. But I believe marriage is a lot like friendship with exes: it's a good idea...in theory.

Balking recently at the split between two friends of mine after over a decade of marriage, my co-worker said that a marriage counselor once told her and her hubby that the hardest years for a married couple were years 3, 7, and 11. In my experience, this absolutely rings true. (Well, my experience as an observer and confidant, never having been married, of course.)

In contemplating this assertion, I couldn't help but wonder what happens after year 11? Let's say that a hypothetical couple makes it past the tumultuous first decade of marriage. Do they just sort of meld into a partnership that will no longer be questioned or threatened? Is there a point at which a married couple says, "Eh, we've been at it this long. Might as well ride it out."? I know that generalizations are a bad idea, and I'm not trying to nail down a formula or anything. I also know that a good relationship will always require effort. I'm really just thinking through many of the questions that bounce around in my twisted lil head quite a bit, especially as I approach the proverbial witching hour for young women: year three-oh. (I don't personally give a hoot what happens at what age; there are just hot topics that arise at certain age landmarks, as you likely know.)

There are those couples, of course, who seem to defy all odds and still have a passion and symbiosis long after the blessed nuptials. But I am starting to think those couples are like the relationship urban legend; maybe (a la He's Just Not That Into You), those couples are the exception, not the rule. Or you think certain couples are of this breed, not knowing that there is no longer romance, enjoyment, or sharing of the marital bed going on.

Consider this: what were your goals and desires when you were eighteen? Twenty two? Twenty five? Thirty five? (I know that the twenties are personified by an acceptable fickleness, but I think you get my drift.) I just have the hardest time believing not only that we can suitably pick our mate for the self we will be a dozen years from now (much less multiple dozens of years), but that the person whom we've picked, as we know them in that moment, will still be the same essential self that they are dozens of years from now. If there is any sort of change to be experienced or trauma to be had (be it to one person or to the couple), how can that not also touch and change the respective selves that form that unit/relationship? It's like chaos theory, reigned in and vowing to stay within a mutually agreed upon course...forever.

How is this possible?

(Subtitle to this post: "In Which Natalie Reveals to all Why She is Not Dating nor On the Path to Marriage. Try Not to Stare at the Spinster in Her Natural Habitat")


  1. simple response — you haven't met someone that you WANT to get married to. i mean, shit can change over night when you meet the right person.

    i thought i had my life figured out. no marriage, no kids, nothing like that. but i met a girl that changed my mind about marriage and i met some kids that changed about reproducing.

    beliefs and ideals, to me, are representative of a season of your life. people that say "i will die for my beliefs" are probably the dumbest people i've ever met. shit, would you die for beliefs you held 5 years ago? i know i wouldn't.

    long story short, take life as it comes. making life decisions now... this young, especially about that kind of stuff seems foolish. everything changes....

  2. I am so sorry that I have not really been the kind of example in the marriage business that a mother should be, but that does not mean that I think you will never get married. I think you would be an absolute wonderful, trustworthy, loving, space giving, nurturing wife. I am just not sure that there are as many men that fit this description and that is where the marriage trouble lies. Don't get me wrong, I think there are as many wayward women, otherwise how could men wander, but it is really hard to find that one person that shares all your ideas and beliefs and that you know would never cheat on you. After three times, I am now an expert. Marriage is not rosey all the time no matter what, but it is the way you handle those little rough patches that make it work or not. So for any wedded person reading this that may be thinking about straying.....DON'T DO IT! The grass always looks greener on the other side but it IS NOT and all you will do is ruin your life, your spouses life and your kids life. I have personaly NEVER cheated but I have been cheated on and it is a hurt that never goes away. Be faithful with the one you love or just don't get involved in marriage. It is truly as simple as that. Ok, off my soapbox now. Love you my precious! MWAH!

  3. I have so many thoughts about this, we should just have coffee to discuss them. Starbucks?

    Or maybe I'll write you a blog.

  4. The older I get the less I feel I know :). All our convictions are based upon who we are and what we are right now. I think things will continue to change and there is no way to say for sure what we want when it involves another person. You can strive for commonality and companionship, but "your relationship" with them will determine where things go. I think marriage works for some, kids work for some, cohabitation only works for some, and casual works for others. Our society is ALL about variety and choices in every other arena of our lives, but with relationships and marriage and kids, people think it's all "paint by numbers". If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "Well, it's the next logical step" I'd be a millionaire.

    My advice. Be you. Be comfortable in what works for you right now where you are. When that incorporates another person, look at the two of you in THAT situation only. Me personally I can't answer any questions about what I want with marriage or children because I've yet to meet anyone I want either of those things with in my life. So, I just keep myself open to the idea of it all. I don't think my life will have any less value if I don't marry, if I don't have children, if I spend the rest of my life as a spinster with great friends and an occasional whirlwind romance that makes my toes curl....becuase I, will be happy knowing I didn't do it because red=1.

  5. Deanna Hilbert (Aunt Dee Dee)Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Not everyone gets it right the first time. From my life lessons I've learned a few things that help. Allow yourself to first grow up and experience a reasonable part of adult life on your own. Once you feel comfortable with who you are, find someone who you find fascinating and who has different opinions than your own. Great that he makes your tummy flutter, but even greater that you never tire of discussing things with him. Each keep a part of who you were when you met, but together find come common ground that interests you both. Put up with doing things the other loves, even if you'd rather be anywhere else. It's part of the give and take that makes love grow. Eventually, you love each other so much just because you can truly be your real, unglamourous self around each other and know that it makes no more difference to your spouse than when your on your game and fabulous!

  6. Been married 15 years. I wish I could say you're out of the woods after 11 years, but I see another bump at 20 - 25 years when the mid-life crises hit. After that, I think you're pretty much in the clear.

  7. I have to agree with the first comment, at this point you haven't met anyone you are willing to spend forever with. But when you do meet that person, you will not want to let them go and you will always see the positive in them and that is why you will try to find the compromise in whatever bump may come up in the road. You know it's the real thing when you are willing to give of yourself.

    Just my thought.