Update Dec. 2022: How in the world would I imagine that I’m talking about marriage again? Who’da thunk? Follow along.
In the original post from 2018, I tell friends that I’m getting married and I get that look. Like, “What? Are you kidding?” I’m not kidding. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve found my next mate. And should I be as tenacious as I was in my second marriage, I think this one might be for keeps. But it is the spirit and intention that is solid and good. And enlightening.
When my fiancé and I started going out together the pull to be in a relationship rather than dating was immediate. Dating, it seemed, was for younger people looking for entertainment, and trying to find ways to kill time. My sweetheart and I were intent on sorting out our relationship from the earliest hours of our first kiss.
I was quite clear when we started seeing each other that I was not a dater. That I didn’t want to date. I wanted a solid. She was the same.
Then we talked about our past relationships. In both marriages, we had both been partner fighting to keep things together. If we’re both fighters, we said, what could keep us from working it out in this relationship? And that’s sort of been our mantra. We have disagreements and differences, but we move beyond them pretty solidly with the idea that you don’t sweat the small stuff, and that it’s mostly small stuff. We love the big stuff together. And we don’t spend too much time worrying about the small stuff.
Today we were exercising and I started thinking about how excited I am to be getting married. I announce it with pride. “March 4th, we’re getting married.” It’s almost as if it’s the first time. Of course, it’s not. I have two kids. But together we see the future together, with my kids and without them. She even helps me see the irrationality of my ex sometimes when she asks for things that seem unreasonable. “It’s all small stuff, baby,” she likes to tell me. And with her by my side, it does all seem like water under the bridge.
I’ve got a good life. I’m still rebuilding myself and my creative empire, but with this woman by my side, I feel invincible. No wait, that’s not a good metaphor. I feel boundless. Hopeful. I feel seen for who I am and who I bring to the relationship. That’s a huge part of being in a loving relationship. You want to feel seen.
So today, I was riding my bike alongside her while she ran seven miles. I was proud of her. I was proud of us. And I was filled with even more pride thinking about getting married. That’s the spirit that you want going into a third (for me) and second (for her) marriage. I am undaunted by the failures of the past. And this time, I am convinced that the proper ingredients and attention to macro-compatibility have been taken care of. We are in love. And it’s love in a big way.
When we are with groups of people we can feel the joy radiating from our bond. We’re not supra-conscious of it, but there is a joy. There is a loving feeling we generate between us that we share with those around us. Our close friends are happy for us. They have seen the transformation of each of us in the basking glow and love of this new partnership.
I believe in marriage, because I know I am done with this woman. I can see a million young gazelles along the running trail, and none of them come close to the love and adoration I have for my future wife. And I am proud, after all, I’ve been through, that she will take me. We are making a mutual agreement, a celebration, and affirmation, that love triumphs over all. That the hurts of the past were stepping stones to get us to this point, this relationship, this massive feeling of love.
Marriage is sacred. And in just over six months we will commit ourselves to this new life together. The truth is, we made our verbal vows about six months after we’d started dating. All the rest has just been the interlude before getting married. We wanted to steep in the joy of planning, the joy of telling people, “We’re getting married,” the joy of spreading our love for one another with all of those around us. I know it sounds woo-woo, but we’re creating more love with the love between us. And our marriage shows the world that it’s never too late, you are never too broken, and you can find the love of your life.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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More articles from The Whole Parent:
- Big Love Burns Through All Other Things (when I first wrote about big love)
- This Feels Like Letting Go: A Moody February with Storms and Sunshine
- That Long-Term Relationship You Are Seeking… It’s With Yourself
- There She Goes Again: Limitless Desire for a New Partner
- Giving Up the Ghost of Your Love
- Time, The Currency of Modern Relationships: Either You Have It To Give
Here are a few of my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End
- Dating 2.0: Aiming for the Love of Your Life
image: dancers, creative commons usage
The Big Love Series (so far – in reverse chronological order)