I've said this a lot lately, but I need to preface this article with an announcement to explain why me, a man — who “shouldn't” be interested in marriage stuff, according to traditional gender norms — is so keen on love and the prospect of marriage.
Well, I'm engaged.
The reason this is so spectacular (to me) is because I once had a bleak outlook on love. I was incredibly skeptical of the prospect, and after years (and years) of failure, I didn't believe it was in the cards for me. My deck was all spades.
Then, when I confidently concluded I'd call off the search for my soulmate and just be single in a home with two basset hounds (which I was fine with, I swear), I swiped right on a vegan baker.
When we met, I honestly didn't believe I was worthy of this Hallmark love, but for some miraculous reason, she felt the same way I did about her. It was revolutionary. Plus, she's a total babe. I hit the jackpot.
In a way, I was reintroduced to love. For the first time ever, love was not only a possibility, but also an actuality. So, newly engaged, I decided to seek knowledge from couples who've been married (or married and then divorced) to determine what it is about marriage that changes — or has potential to change — a relationship. Because it does in a way, doesn't it?
As I would soon discover, it does, but the answer isn't so simple. Of the 20 plus responses I received from my callout, most read like miniature novels. They were long, but I shouldn't have been surprised.
Love, no matter how alluring, is complicated and can no way be summed up in a mere phrase.
These are the eight most varied insights (because there was overlap) I've received from various married couples across North America.
1. In a sense, marriage is a business.
— Irwin, 74
2. Marriage makes things official and more committal.
— Tsara, 42
3. Marriage changes people.
— Zera, 27
4. People have different views on what marriage “should” be.
— Dayna, 48
5. Marriage offers security.
— Elisabeth, 50
6. Marriage makes things more comfortable.
– Lori, 28
7. Dated gender roles become expectations.
– Brittany, 26
8. After marriage, people just want you to have babies.