I love love. Love everything about it. Love giving it, receiving it, showing it, spreading it, seeing it, feeling it, falling in it. I mean, I’m a Libra after all, meaning my ruling planet is Venus, the planet of love. So there’s that.
But as much as I love love, I don’t plan on this being the sole factor in my decision (if and when it happens) to get married. And, as much of a romantic I am, I realize that this might seem somewhat counterintuitive.
And I’ve been in love. Really in love. Like head-over-heels, desperate, passionate, I’d-die-for-you, I’ll-die-without-you kind of love. Like something out of a movie love. It shook me to my core, turned my world upside down and gave me the highest highs (and lowest lows) of my life.
Have you ever been in love like that? Where love takes over, blinds you, traps you and even though it feels so good, it may make you do things or say things or accept things that aren’t really all that good for you? Or aren’t really you?
It’s taken many years of self-discovery to get a strong grasp of exactly who I am and exactly what I need. So if I were to ever find myself in love to the point where everything I know and love about myself becomes compromised for the sake of another person, then who am I even?
Don’t get me wrong. Love is wonderful. Falling in love is amazing and it doesn’t always end up compromising people. But it also doesn’t automatically entail all the other things that I feel are important for making a marriage last. It’s not the be all end all factor that will lead me to say, “I do.” They say time is the currency of relationships, and I would definitely want a beneficial ROI in my marriage.
Because no matter how hard you love someone, what’s harder is making that love last. As quickly as you can fall into it, you can fall out of it. There will undoubtedly be days where you do not love your partner. This is a given. So what happens on those days where the only basis of your relationship is love? When the love is gone, what do you have to fall back on?
Here are the five things I’m marrying for other than love, all of which go hand in hand.
It goes both ways. I want to be able to simultaneously respect my partner for who they are, myself for who I am and our relationship for what it is. I want to respect my partner wholeheartedly for who they are outside of our relationship. And I want the same in return. There should be a clear understanding of boundaries, both inside and outside of our relationship, so that maintaining a mutual level of respect is never questionable. If I’m doing things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with my partner, what am I even doing? And I want to maintain my own level of self-respect within the relationship. If I let my partner talk to me in ways that nobody else would be able to get away with, what am I even doing?
If there is a visceral feeling of respect in the relationship, doing important yet sometimes difficult things like forgiving each other or accepting differences of opinions becomes both easy and genuine.
Be willing to have the uncomfortable talks. Be willing to be completely transparent. Be willing to say the good, the bad and the ugly, to get it all out in the open. Be willing to have fights. Be willing to ask questions. Be willing to demand answers.
There shouldn’t be anything you can say to someone else that you can’t say to your partner, no matter how shitty it may be. I may be a lover, but I am also a fighter. I am passionate and strong in my convictions. I am confrontational and, at times, aggressive. I am willing to fight for what I believe in, including my relationships. If I can’t get the same courtesy and level of commitment to open and honest communication, I don’t want to commit my life to you.
Sexual compatibility, for one, but also lifestyle compatibility. People sometimes get so swept up in great sex that they don’t realize how little they are compatible in the other aspects of life. Sex is important but it does eventually dwindle over time. So how will you fill your time if you live completely different lifestyles? The key isn’t finding someone who is exactly like you, although common interests are great. It’s about meshing well, complimenting each other, filling in the blanks, and achieving well-rounded balance. As a Libra, achieving and maintaining balance is my lot in life.
And on top of that, be a team player. Compatibility is key but it doesn’t mean that conflict is completely unavoidable (and thinking this way is truly delusional). Rather, realize that when you do fight, it’s not about winning or losing because that would mean you’re competing with each other. If the issue is resolved, you both win. If not, you’re both losers.
When somebody gets you, it’s the best feeling in the world. Not having to constantly explain yourself is incredibly refreshing. Equally important is having someone who may not necessarily understand your emotions all the time but who is willing to try. Who is willing to listen with an open mind as you do explain. And even if they still don’t understand you, they at least understand the importance of acceptance.
And I’m not talking about only the marriage basics like how we both feel about kids or handling finances or where we’d want to live. I’m also talking about shared world views. As I said before, I’m a passionate person with strong convictions and opinions. There are some things that I feel so strongly about, it would be incredibly difficult and dangerously repressive of me to be with a person who doesn’t feel even remotely the same.
Of course, everyone has opinions and part of the respect thing is respecting the opinions of your partner. And I can get on board with some of that, like respect my partner’s opinion that rye bread is absolutely the only kind of bread that should ever be served for breakfast. But there are other things that would be absolute deal-breakers for me.
Racism, for one. Sexism, for another. I am a bit of a traditionalist, sure, and can appreciate agreed-upon roles that exist within relationships (key word being “agreed-upon”). But if a dude is gonna get dismissive with me when I go on a feminist rant and tell me that I can feel how I want as long as I don’t cut my hair too short (can you believe this actually happened to me?) instead of RANT RIGHT ALONG WITH ME then #boybye.