Thursday, August 10, 2017

Your Husband, No One Else's

In a long-ago interview with Bill Moyers, Maya Angelou revealed her theory that most women marry other people’s husbands. She didn’t elaborate, but I immediately understood. Out of hopefulness, impatience, insecurity or for a thousand other reasons, we too often rush into relationships that are poor fits for us, robbing our partners and ourselves of more promising connections. . .
“I have finally married my own husband,” Ms. Angelou went on to say.
Many years after my first marriage, so did I.
I read in a frum magazine that the rising rate of divorce amongst our newly wedded youth is not necessarily due to the inability of these couples to make it work; it is because they should not have married in the first place. Incompatibility cannot always be overcome.

The opening paragraph is from an article by a disabled woman, Ona Gritz ("Love, Eventually"), who realized that she was in a relationship with an able-bodied man simply because he wanted her. After years of rejection from men, this was an offer she could not pass up. 

But she did not feel with him that deep connection that she had with her best friend, and she could not help but contrast the two relationships. Shouldn't marriage have that? 

She eventually divorced, then later met and married her soulmate—who happens to be blind, while she has cerebral palsy. 
It’s true that Dan and I are very similar. We’re both romantics yet also fiercely independent. We’re introspective to the point of obsession. Though he’s a decade older, we share a love for the music from his teenage years. And long before we met, many of the same novels and poetry books lined our shelves.
Dating, to put it bluntly, sucks. I have read letters of women who have had enough, that decided to "settle" and simply marry. Perhaps, to some, the settling was worth it; but I have heard too many tales of the bleakness that can follow such a decision. 

Breathe. Be patient. Find happiness in the meantime. And come to know yourself, so you can know what you need.    


Daniel Saunders said...

I've been thinking about this quite a bit recently, given my own disastrous attempts at dating. I think there's settling and there's settling. There's realizing that you have to be realistic and that the perfect spouse probably doesn't exist, so you need to prioritize what's most important to you and then there's marrying the first person who comes along because you're fed up with being single. The second one is not likely to lead to a healthy relationship.

Sarah said...

That's such a great quote and very timely for me, as I just ended it with someone who was great on paper, but triggered strong gut feelings of "Absolutely not!" We all deserve a spouse who doesn't think they've settled and definitely doesn't feel strongly negative about us.

Princess Lea said...

DS: I wouldn't call the first "settling." That is simply creating a healthy relationship with someone, and some forms of compromise are of course a given.

Sarah: I have great faith in the gut feeling. Brene validates it. A marriage requires work in order to flourish, but there has to be a solid base of devotion to build upon.