Here's another discussion about marriage! I would've plugged it into Katie Proctor's discussion, but I feel this is a different take on it.

When you find "the ONE" do you just "know it"? Is being nervous before you get married a bad sign? Is NOT having any doubts really a good sign? Do happy couples suffer from confirmation bias?

Read the Article

I grew up in a [Christian and American] culture that tried to convince me that there was one person specially created for me, and I for them. I was always very skeptical of this "love at first sight" nonsense. I didn't buy into the fairy tale depiction of love. Despite my skepticism, I still struggle with the messages that have been deeply ingrained.

From the moment I had my first crush, until I met my now boyfriend, I was trying to decide if this guy or that guy was "the One." Less than an articulated thought, I would feel the question, "Do I know this man is my husband?!" I would analyze the hell out of every glance and sigh, trying to determine if this feeling I had "never felt before" was the never before felt feeling of "knowing."

It was all very confusing, and frustrating because these persistent questions went against my conviction it was all bunk. I didn't believe there was a Knight in Shining Armor, but some imperfect someone that I got along with really well, and who mostly understood me. He might be the last person I would suspect. He might not match what I had in my mind for a partner. As much as I wanted some guy to see me across the room and instantly fall in love, the feminist in me chaffed at the idea; he doesn't even know who I am!!! And besides, there were guys who instantly fell in love (or infatuation), and I found them all repulsively creepy. In theory, that kind of devotion sounds lovely. In reality, it's weird and leads to restraining orders.

So, how do you KNOW? Maybe you don't. Maybe if you had an amazing connection with someone, and felt all the right things, and stayed married your entire life, you were just lucky. Because there are people who have an amazing connection, feel all the right things, then divorce. And there are others who were unsure, but who are now perfectly happy they pushed through their doubt.

When I met my boyfriend, I definitely felt something new. I was excited to get to know this guy better... as a friend. Well, I was attracted to him for sure, but I was trying not to let all my typical over-analyzing thoughts take over and run away with me. I was trying to stay level, and I did a pretty good job at it. All I would allow myself to think at the end of the night was, "This guy is going to be a huge part of my life." And he has been. And our goodbye hug felt different. I'm the kind of person that's just not comfy being physical, but I felt safe with him. Not electrified, just sooo comfortable. That was new, too. But, again, I didn't let myself think too much of any of it.

Later, we really did get together, and I had some major doubts. I think a lot of those doubts sprung from the fact that our relationship was not conventional or traditional. I was a feminist, but this was the first time a guy held me to that ideal... although he wasn't aware of it. He wasn't treating me like a helpless girl. I loved and hated that. Without going into too much detail, it was simply confusing to get what I had always wanted but never anticipated. And all of it just gets balled up with deconverting from a Believer to atheist. What DO I expect from men now that I don't have to rebel against their authority over me? What IS acceptable for a relationship not rooted in religion?

Two and a half years later, I'm so glad I worked through my doubts. I feel so lucky. But it's not over yet, is it? It's not over until it's over, and we should never take our relationships for granted. We are NOT meant to be; we have to work at keeping things good. Nothing is guaranteed, and feelings are never good indicators of what is actually the best thing.

 

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By the way, I did not copy and paste the article here... I wrote my own blurb. Definitely read the article!!! I thought it was really good :)

Your last statement hit the nail on the head. When you meet a man, as a feminist, he must, most of all, respect you for who you are, and let you grow. By him not treating you like a helpless female, will make you grow up, and you can have a go at ANYTHING - That doesn't stop you from being female, a woman, sexy and lustful, when in fact , he will REALLY appreciate it, but it is all on your terms. If he is a competent, sure of himself as a male, and not threatened by you, you will have a fantastic relationship.

Ask him about what makes him tick - what makes him as a person and a man - these are the sort of talks you should be having - and when or if you have children, this is the sort of information that should be passed on, and you will understand your children better.

 

I have been divorced, and I have been living with my partner now for 20 something years. Two things keep a relationship robust, ;listening to each other, this should NEVER stop,  respect and lust. Lust just means saying I luv you, kissing hello and goodbye, acknowledging the other at most times.

 

Also remember, men can't read our minds, so if something is worrying you, talk about it - what is troubling you could well be a revelation to him, and if he respects you, he will understand more of where you are coming from - and you will both learn and grow together - happy times ahead.

When you find "the ONE" do you just "know it"?

No. That's is bullshit, IMO. When people say that what they really mean is that everything seemed to come together that they, at that time, thought they wanted. All these things come from many sources. Among them are, what society / media / religion / fairy tales tell you that you should want. Internal wiring that most are not really conscious of. Looks, fertility tags and income potential. I don't believe in a ONE.

 

I believe that our ONE is actually MANY. It is limited only by our internal wiring, acceptance of societal conditioning, emotional baggage and most significantly, ability to be open to love/hurt, to accept and love someone else as they are, not as something to change.

 

Is being nervous before you get married a bad sign?

Not nessasiarily. I believe it's a sign of THINKING. Until death do us part is a long damn time in most cases. Not everyone shows all thier true colors before the papers are signed and the rice is thrown.

 

Is NOT having any doubts really a good sign?

Not necessarily. It often means one is naive, not thinking or laughing in the face of fear.

 

Do happy couples suffer from confirmation bias?

 

Yes. Nearly everyone "suffers" from this to one degree or in one form or another. For some that "suffering" leads to happiness.

 

Read the Article

 

I think the idea to renew the contract each year is a great one. The reasons marriage fail IMO are many. One HUGE one is taking it for granted and not tending it.

 

Another is buying into religious / societal / fairy tale crap such as The ONE.

 

Also, not taking the time to really explore yourself, the gray scary parts in particular and accept you, not to mention learn about living a little. The article mentions it's best to marry after 35. I've told my kids 30.

I grew up in a [Christian and American] culture that tried to convince me that there was one person specially created for me, and I for them. I was always very skeptical of this "love at first sight" nonsense. I didn't buy into the fairy tale depiction of love. Despite my skepticism, I still struggle with the messages that have been deeply ingrained.

I'm sorry to say we all struggle with such things. The fact that you are now conscious of it will help though. Hopefully you won't pass this garbage on to the next generation even though society will do it's best to make sure it does continue.

 

Two and a half years later, I'm so glad I worked through my doubts. I feel so lucky. But it's not over yet, is it? It's not over until it's over, and we should never take our relationships for granted. We are NOT meant to be; we have to work at keeping things good. Nothing is guaranteed, and feelings are never good indicators of what is actually the best thing.

 

Actually instincts/feelings, first instincts the ones you tell yourself aren't fair and that you have no basis for and therefore you should give the person another chance are very good, IMO.

 

Regardless, you should always work to keep things good. Nothing is ever guaranteed. Pull him aside from things, have a heart to heart over a coffee date. Always take time to check in and make sure you are both listening to each other, remembering yourselves as a loving couple, taking the time for romance or hot sweaty sex even if you have to go camping or rent a hotel room to feel free enough for it. Date night is a wonderful thing when married.

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