This is a woman in her early 30’s.
I´d say love and partnership is what marriage is to me. Humility. I don’t know if that’s the right term. But marriage for me has been a way to grow in ways I didn’t know I could. Recognizing my own faults, accepting them and moving on to become a better person with another person.
Partnership means to be equally united in our vision of fulfillment. We both want the same things in life. We both value the same things. We both want to make it happen for each other and our family.
It’s more than love.
I’m in love with him, madly in love with him. I don’t even know how to explain it. I was in love with him before I knew it. I respect his intelligence, his decision-making process. Open communication is huge for us. We work on this all the time. It’s the main focus on our marriage. We don’t let things go unspoken. We value the intimacy too. Because if not, how is it different than a business partnership? I can love a lot of people, but intimacy is the most important thing. Since we started dating we were on the same page. On date 1I told him- this is how I feel about religion, politics, sex, everything. This is what I see as a fulfilling marriage in my life. And do you? Of course there are differences, but ultimately we want the same things. We are going to the same place. And we both understand those things. I feel like the big priorities will always be the same. We know we want a big family, we value shared experience over gifts and education. I feel confident that even in our 80s and 90s we will arrive at the place we wanted in the beginning, and if it changes, we can say “hey, I do want this, I don’t want that.”
Our conversations aren’t always lovey, smiley, but we always have the uncomfortable conversations. We make sure that we make each other know that it might be hurtful, but it’s not coming from a place of malicious intent. I say it so we both have a better relationship long term. We appreciate that honesty. I don’t worry if he is going to judge me. In terms of having uncomfortable conversations they manifest into resentment, anger and miscommunication that ultimately hurts our marriage if we don’t have them. At the beginning it was difficult to open up to that extent. But know I know if he is giving me constructive criticism its because he loves me. I know its not to hurt me. We are both on the same page. It’s always tough to hear things we don’t want to hear but ultimately it’s good. I used to hold things back or expect him to understand or read my mind early in our relationship. Then come Sunday we would be yelling at each other, crying. We want to enjoy our time together, so the feedback for each other is constant and immediate. It’s a service to do things in the moment.. You are taught how to ride a bike, how to do an interview, but people don’t teach you how to love. We take it for granted that it’s a human emotion, and you need to learn how to deal with this. If we speak in different love languages, there’s frustration.
To me, the mainstream definition of romance doesn’t apply to my relationship. I fall in love with my husband every day a little bit more. It has nothing to do with getting roses. He would be talking to someone, and say something weird to someone, and I just fall in love with him more. I love his brain. I find that sexy. Its really weird but I do. I wanted someone that was excited about learning. I’m always falling in love with him so I don’t think we have to pull artificial things to keep that feeling alive.
My family knew I was in love with him before I even knew. I changed my behavior and levitated around the house after seeing him.
We have a shared to do list, so we both know we are working from the same priorities. We really integrate our lives together. We talk about his work a lot. I think its important because I like to understand where his stress is coming from, and I like to work through these things with him.
Have those uncomfortable conversations. Know what fulfills you. As you are working through the process to sign that marriage contract, you have to selfishly know what makes you happy, and work for that. Tell the person, this is who I am. That way, when you are in a marriage you can fight for yourself and for both. You have to know yourselves. I want my children to know what their non-negotiables are. To be with somebody that is willing to meet them there and do those things.
You have to work for what you want.