I am going to go out on a very bold limb and state in semi-permanent text: In any long term relationship, be it married, common law or boyfriend & girlfriend, it is not up to our significant other to make us happy. Gasp! I know … you’re all thinking she’s off her rocker! But please, hear me out. Their job is to add to our joy. Your lover (for a lack of better terms) should never subtract from your happiness either. (that is an entirely different topic for a whole other day though) They are to be there with you in good times and bad, be supportive, appreciative, loving, loyal to your terms of fidelity, but I believe the most important is to be your partner. Funny, this word partner.
Let me take you back to a bit of my personal past. Before meeting hubby I was in a very unique relationship. It was built upon something so unexplainable. You know when you have a crush on someone, and its not really supposed to turn into anything – well this one did. We were together as playmates for nearly ten years. Pretty much my entire 20-something decade. In the final year of our relationship he started calling me his partner. When we went to events where I was introduced the first time it was “This is my partner, Ella.” Let me say this with the utmost truth – I hated it! I was annoyed! I thought this was just another politically correct residence life non-label label. I was proud to be his girlfriend, and this label, in my mind, was belittling. Let’s fast forward six years. I cannot believe it’s been that long already.
Maybe six years ago I was not a mommy, and still called myself a girl. Maybe I was naive, and young, and foolishly in love. I wanted nothing more than the respect I so deserved. But now here, sitting away upstairs from the loud blare of yet another hockey night in Canada, I truly understand what he meant by partner. And I take it all back. Strangely though, that label did not, and could not fit us. We were not truly partners, as I said before, we were playmates. We had a lot of fun, but it was time that it ended. It ended on polite terms, and we still connect via facebook every so often. I cannot believe it though – he’s actually marrying this coming summer.
So marriage? How does this whole partnership fit into the joy and marriage? I want to reiterate a few points. Happiness is not necessarily joy. Joy is more contentment, where as happiness is more elation. To me, joy is more important. Joy is finding and appreciating love, ease, small moments, and much more attainable than constant happiness. Happiness can be exhausting, especially if you’re constantly looking for it. That’s why it is rather unfair to pin all the onus of “You have to make me happy!” on your lover. We have to create our own happiness. Sometimes that means letting go of something, or someone. Everything we keep around us, be it company or article should bring us some sort of joy. If it does not, it is time to let it go. Holding on to it will only squander your energy. Energy that should be focused on joys, not sorrows.
I cannot really remember the vows my hubby spoke to me on our wedding day, aside mentioning he wanted children. Frankly the whole day is one big blur until the ride in the Towncar to the Airport hotel. I trust there was something about loving me for eternity and all the usual mumble jumble we utter to make the relationship legal. We chose to write our own vows. I remember spending endless nights trying to write exactly what I wanted to bring to this relationship. We barely knew one another though, and it was difficult describing what I wanted this relationship to truly amount to. I know there was nothing old fashioned about obeying and serving. I am also pretty sure there was something about loving him for 64.5 years, leaving me just enough time to find someone else if I thought this wasn’t working out. (that number would have brought me to 94.5 at the time.) Although our relationship is short in comparison to my past, I would love to start fresh. And this time, I know exactly what I would write.
I was taught from a very young age never to make a promise I cannot keep. I cannot promise perfection, but I will be with you through thick and thin. I will support our dreams to the very end. May we travel this path together, and endure all of life’s hardships, and joys with one another, hand in hand. I want to be your partner in life, so let me take your hand in mine, and may they never drop out of anger, or cold feelings, for as long as we stand side by side, there is nothing we cannot conquer. Will you be my partner?
I have had the fortunate opportunities to stand in as a bridesmaid in a few weddings. I am a crier, so I am usually a splotchy mess by the time we have to descend back down the aisle. I think there is something so beautiful and pure and new about weddings. It’s why the bride wears white, even though those strict morals of eras long passed are all but forgotten.
My two “bestest” friends are getting married this year and next, and I am again fortunate to have been invited to stand up in their weddings. Both ladies were in mine, so this is ever so special to be asked in return. I can only hope for each of them that they have found a partner in which to share their life with. Hmm … this may make a good speech.
To all of you, whether you’re single and searching, heading to the alter, or already hitched, I hope you find, or have found someone who you can truly call your partner.