Tuesday, May 08, 2007

some thoughts on marriage that came to me over the course of the past hour(year) or two

Saturday night, while at a wonderful Tex-Mex/El Salvadorian restaurant celebrating my birthday a little early with a few friends, I received a call from a close high school friend announcing her engagement. I'm absolutely thrilled for her, was completely surprised, and yet had been expecting such a call for at least the past year. When telling my mom about the engagement and upcoming marriage, she commented that half of the Fab Four (myself, and three close high school friends) will now be married, then added, "Don't let yourself feel any pressure." I laughed and told her that there was nothing to worry about, I don't feel any pressure to be the next one engaged.

I'm so happy to be single and completely unattached. It's been so good these past few months to think about graduate schools and not have someone else's plans to consider as well. I met a girl at one interview who decided on where to apply based on information from her fiance's HR department. Ouch. That sounds stifling. And I remember last summer, my recently married friend and I were talking about their plans for the next few years - she has been anxious to return home to this city after graduation, but he still has at least another year until he graduates and has been offered a scholarship that could cover a master's program for him. They both want to come back to this city, but they don't want to pass up an opportunity that in the long run would be good for both of them. Almost a year later, things are working out well for them, they still want to eventually come back to this city, but are happy and enjoying life where they're at. I remember after that conversation thinking how thankful I am that I don't have my current decisions complicated by someone else's. I don't think that I'm ready for that kind of compromise. I like making my own choices, between me and God, and I'm not ready to start being selfless and allowing my choices to be combined with someone else's.

And yet, I want a companion to stick with me through all these choices and changes. I am blessed with intimate and beautiful friendships, but we're all soon heading in different directions and this fact is becoming more real to me lately. I'm so excited about our different opportunities that we have before us and look forward to all that will happen in each of our lives, but the change is hard. I do, but I don't really want to make new friends in College Station. I don't want to go through all the uncertainty of being in a new place all alone as I did four years ago. When my recently married friend first told me of her engagement, I was surprised that they were choosing to get married before their college graduation and I told her that I thought it would be hard for them. She confidently replied that they had talked about it, they knew it would be hard, there would be a lot of changes, but they wanted to go through the changes together. At the time, it sounded crazy. Two years later, it sounds appealing. It seems like these changes would be a little easier if I just had someone by my side to go through them with me. It doesn't even have to be a husband, right now I don't care about the romance or the sex, I just want a companion. I just want the commitment. Unfortunately, friendships , as lifelong as they may be, aren't designed for those kinds of commitments. While it would be beautiful to have one close friend beside me, there's no way that I would ever want to tear one of my close friends away from New Zealand, her dream college, her dream company, or anything else to be with me.

Re-reading these past two paragraphs, I realize how lopsided this imaginary relationship sounds. I don't want to worry about someone else's decisions; I want someone to follow my decision. I don't want to compromise for someone; I want someone to compromise for me. I want someone to commit fully to me and my plans, while still retaining my freedom of action. I want a wife! This may be how I honestly feel, yet I laugh at how ridiculous it all is. Maybe this is why I'm single. Maybe I don't want a mature, two-sided, give-and-take, loving, giving real relationship just yet. And yet, if I had a friend or husband who was so spineless as to not want to make any of their own decisions and just wanted to stay by my side, I'd never be attracted to them! Though Say Anything is one of my favorite movies, I would never, ever, ever want a Lloyd Dobler. I hope to someday have a companion who loves me and is willing to compromise for my well-being, but I will also love him and be willing to compromise for his well-being. No, we will compromise for our well-being. Though it's probably not as simple as that. We'll probably both be a little giving, and both be a little selfish. It won't always be pretty, but we'll have each other and know that we're not going at it alone.


Martha Elaine Belden said...

i'll have to come back and read this later 'cause i'm at work... but i couldn't wait to send you your interview questions.

here's ME interviewing YOU :)

(the first two i'm stealing from my interview with christina because i just really like asking people these things)

1. no holds barred... tell me about your dream life. GO!

2. if you could author the biography of anyone (alive or dead; famous or not), who would it be and why?

3. if you could have been born a child prodigy... what would you want your remarkable gift/talent to be?

4. if someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you want to play you? why?

5. what is the greatest gift you've ever been given? what's the greatest gift you've ever given to someone else?

enjoy :)

Cara said...

kelly, so much that you wrote resonates with me. i could tell you exactly what i agreed with, but then i'd just be saying everything you wrote. during transitions it's natural to want a constant by your side, and it helps if he's a great kisser and tells you you're beautiful. i wish that for all of us, but i think you've got something better than that. you have your head on straight, and you're looking to God for guidance, and you have friends and family who support you, even if we aren't calvin klein male models.

i'm really proud of you, kelly, and i know that one day you will find a person to share your life with.

if walled in climb up said...

Wow, great thoughts. I can really relate to a lot of them. In fact, a lot of them have been things I've thought about (and agonized over at times) now that I'm in a relationship. I really can't wait for you to find the right guy. When he comes along, I'm pretty sure that compromising, while still being difficult, will not be as hard as you might imagine. In the mean time, I'm so happy you're enjoying the great parts about being single. Like not being tied down. And being able to shamelessly flirt. And not having to make major life plans around someone. And not worrying about desperately missing someone when you go away. I'm so happy that you're very busy enjoying this stage of life. :)

P.S. Who got engaged?? My friend Camille just got engaged! It's fairly surreal.

Martha Elaine Belden said...

great post, kelly.

you're in a great place right now. i think i'm in that place, too... really. it's only complicated when there are guys you could see yourself dating.

i'm much more content with my life and being single when there's no one i'm interested in.