I always used to tell my family and friends that I’d never get married. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I simply had never met one person I could imagine spending an entire week with, let alone the rest of my life. In my first apartment, my wifi network was single4ever, and that’s no exaggeration. My 22-year-old, single self was vivacious and loving and fun, and the woman I am today, although no longer single, and soon-to-be married, is still that same person, just evolved and different and grown.
Yes, I’m getting married, but not once in the entirety of my relationship with this incredible human being have I ever changed myself or who I am, nor do I plan to. And not once has he ever encouraged or asked that of me.
Marriage is not about finding one person and changing your life to match theirs. And I fear that many people think it is. It’s not about changing yourself to find someone else. It’s about finding one person who wouldn’t want to change even a millimeter of who you are, of all the tiny, little pieces of your heart and soul that combine to make the whole. A union you agree on, especially one that involves a commitment to someone forever, should feel full of acceptance, not judgement or fear of being who you truly are.
I’ll be married this October, and although I’ve told my fiancé that I don’t need any grandeur attached to the giant industry that is WEDDINGS, I will be walking down an aisle in a fancy, beautiful dress that I honestly can’t wait to wear, and I will be nervously reciting my own vows that, whether I like it or not, open my heart for all to hear. And as the “big day” seemingly approaches faster and faster, the more people ask me, “How’s planning going?”
I enjoy people’s curiosity. I enjoy knowing that my friends and family actually care about my life and what’s happening within it. But what surprises me is that the most common questions are all about planning, and all of the stress attached to the process. Not once have I heard a question about fear. “So, are you scared to get married?” There’s been a lot of planning for my wedding, and in all honesty, there hasn’t been much stress, but fear? ... I don’t think I can say the same.
Maybe brides-to-be are hesitant to talk about it. Maybe they don’t want their partners to think they’re getting “cold feet.” Or maybe, and I hope this is not the case, I’m the only one who’s truly afraid. Marriage, for me, is terrifying. And I’m not afraid of the word forever, or spending the rest of my life with one person. The fears that take up far too much space in my head aren’t about eternity, forever, or the phrase “for the rest of our lives,” my fears are about what’s to happen along the way.
Uncertainty terrifies me. I have a small tattoo on my right elbow of the proofreading symbol used to insert a new paragraph. It’s supposed to remind me to accept change, because change among other things is something I’ve always been afraid of.
Yes, things in our lives are bound to change. When I first met my fiancé, I knew there was a connection. No, it was not love at first sight. In fact, it took the second time around of meeting to truly connect, but the more time we spent together, the more I realized, shit I really like this person. And with even more time, I realized, shit, now I love this person.
My fear of love, while partially rooted in the extent of my feelings for him, is also rooted in the fear of change. How will my life change if I let this person in, and who will I become?
Since we’ve met, I’ve lived in three different places, I’ve switched jobs, I’ve picked up new sports, traveled to new places, met new people, and more. There have been high points and there have certainly been low points. But the one thing that has not changed, the one thing that my fiancé has always said he’d never want to change, is me and the person that I am.
I am kind and empathetic. I am sweet, but also strong. I am extremely emotional. I care deeply for those I am close to, and am hesitant to try new things and meet new people simply because I’m scared of the unknowns. And for all of these qualities, whether commonly considered good or bad, they have always been a part of who I am, and they have always been accepted lovingly by my fiancé.
I’ve never felt pressured to change any part of who I am to obtain his acceptance or admiration. Dating, engaged, married, the relationship status doesn’t matter. He has always encouraged me to be my own person, to stay true to who I am. My marriage, although it hasn’t officially happened yet, will not be about changing myself for him, or vice versa. Our marriage will be about changing and growing together.