I found an article in the NY Times over the weekend that I found extremely compelling and thought-provoking. The article, called “Missing the Boat: A Case for Marriage” chronicles writer Jessica Bennet’s long relationship with the man who proposed to her, waited for her and eventually stopped waiting. I found it very poignant but it’s also a very true reflection of why so many people in their thirties and even forties remain unmarried, but unintentionally. The article really is about thinking that you have plenty of time to seize a life with the one you love.
Bennett’s partner proposed to her but then agreed to wait when she got cold feet. Her fears were that her career and her opportunities for growth and freedom would suffer if she became his wife. They lived together for several years while he waited for her to be ready and then finally he was gone. As she looks back on things now, she admits that she should have said “yes.”
There were plenty of times over the next six years that I wished I had said yes. We could have had a long engagement, I told myself. In a few years, I would have been ready.”
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with a blog by and for married couples.
I think that even after we marry, we have a tendency to take our partners for granted. We pursue our dreams, our goals and our jobs, assuming that our partners will still be there, waiting and loving, when we’re ready to give them our full attention. We may be married and we may intend to stay married, but we’re putting off having a great marriage until after we’ve earned that promotion, paid off the house or run those marathons.
The problem is that by the time we’re ready to fully enjoy our marriages, our spouses may be done waiting for us.
I think most of us (and this certainly includes me) can stand to take a hard look at how we spend our time and energies and reassess whether everything else is getting our best while our spouses get what’s left over. If we want to enjoy a great marriage when we’re older, when the kids are grown, when we’re retired, we need to nurture the marriage we have now.
Yes, some things we want for our lives may have to wait, like the vacation home, the second career or the world travel. But our husbands and wives are not one of those things. I’m going to really look this week at how I spend my time and my focus and see if there’s one thing that should be put on the back burner so that my husband and my marriage can be more front and center.
After all, this man is the love of my life. I’m very fortunate that I did say “yes” when I was asked. Now I need to tell him, “Still yes. Right now.”