What I Know Now: Marriage is Not Just a Piece of Paper

I have been in relationships with nice guys, but I have always run away. There was one guy in particular that wanted to marry me. He would talk about things like what our lives would be like in the future and I would too. I just wasn’t so sure that I saw the same future as he did. I wanted something more, but wasn’t sure that marriage was what I wanted.

Brit_Marriage piece of paperThis guy never did get the chance to propose because, not too long after our talks about the future, I ended the relationship. Sure, I dreamed of getting married as a kid, but the idea also scared me. As I have written about before, I only want to get married once and stay married, and I had too many doubts. How could I know that if we did get married that it would be a forever thing?

So I told myself “marriage is just a piece of paper.” I said this because I wasn’t ready to make that commitment, I was afraid it would be a mistake. I also said this to men as a way to let them know that I didn’t want that pressure of having to take on more in the relationship–to take the next step. I have heard a lot of people say the same thing, that marriage is just a piece of paper. But I wonder if they were just afraid of marriage the same way I was? Perhaps, like me, they know too many people who thought that their marriage would last forever, only to see it come to an abrupt halt out of nowhere. I’ve never wanted that to happen to me.

Brittany and her daughter.
Brittany and her daughter.

Marriage is huge lifetime commitment–at least that’s what it’s supposed to be. But because almost all of the marriages around me growing up failed, it made me very fearful of making such a huge decision. What if I made the wrong choice? Or maybe I could do things differently than everyone around me? There just seem to be a lot of “what ifs” involving such a major life choice.

But I know now that getting married is more than just a piece of paper, that it is a commitment that I have always wanted, and still want now. I understand that I can’t answer all of the “what ifs” going through my mind. Instead I have decided to focus on finding a man I do want to marry. How do I know that that guy is the one that I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with? Well, I’m still figuring that out, but I have a set of qualities that I want in a man and I refuse to settle for anything less. I think that’s a pretty good start. I feel confident that I will eventually find the guy that I’m going to spend my life with, but for now I’m fine with just dating.

Through my experience I have learned that I can’t be afraid of a failed marriage. I need to actually be able to make that amazing transition in a relationship: from love to lasting commitment. I want so much to be loved and cherished for all the days of my life, to be able to have that connection and never falter. I hope one day I can say I truly loved my husband and he loved me in return–until death do us part.

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