Marriage: Overexposure

I’m currently in a month long meditation on Marriage.

I was ecstatic to realize, in February 2016, I worked through a common fear most people have around marriage. What perplexed me was having that realization as a single, non-coupled, non-dating woman. Three months later, I was t-boned by the truths that challenged societies image and ideas of marriage, which perplexed me more.

Marriage you finally won me over, what are you trying to say?

The current series, is written chronologically in terms of how the information, wisdom, experiences and conversations emerged. Some of the later posts will be non-linear, but still chronological in terms of my awareness. There were some specific experiences that caught my attention, but I did’t think much of them until future experiences called back to the earlier experience and linked the two experiences together.

During the month of April, I met a woman at a weekend transformational retreat. In an exercise about our personal vision of our future I told her I eventually wanted to get married. She listed fully, but once the exercise ended She told me to Stay Single.

This perplexed me, because the majority of women I’ve encountered all my life have wanted marriage for me, even if they were silently unhappy in their own marriages.

My last week in Los Angeles was at the beginning of May. I was headed home for two months to teach a writing workshop and start writing a book. I notified my friends I was leaving and that I was going to go on a tech hiatus from email, phone and social media. I got a text from a friend who wanted to catch up before I left. I have not seen or heard from him in over a year. I thought about disregarding the text and reaching out when I got back in August. Intuitively I felt I should see my friend before I left and so I did. Immediately after we caught up, I felt I made mistake.

I was not prepared for our conversation. He downloaded a lot of deep information, which is not characteristic of our friendship. I struggled to understand things he revealed, because of the complexities. I tried to find words to offer a new perspective, but it was a challenge. All my thoughts were drowned out by the heavy information. My only advice to him was to see a therapist.

Of all the things he told me, he did speak about marriage. He and his wife have been married for 10 years and are still married. They are shocked by the amount of couples they encounter that do not know their partners or openly and honestly communicate with each other. He said this in a way that made it seem like he and his wife feel like outsiders among their married friends.

Next he told me that he and his wife are now in an open marriage. He asked me if I was surprised and I was not. I took a human sexuality course and relational communication courses in college so I know the sexual expression spectrum and the spectrum of romantic relationships, therefore what he told me was already in my knowledge bank.

He told me that if he knew then, with what he knows now, he wouldn’t be married.

This shocked me, because he is in a solid marriage. He said it had nothing to do with his wife or marriage because he loved both, but to my understanding the choices he made when he was younger, were the result of societies perceptions and his desire to be accepted.

In a months time, two people offered similar arguments against marriage. These two specific experiences I kept to myself because I had no idea what to do with the information. It was alarming to receive this level of honesty, and I didn’t want to shatter anyones perceptions. I believed that what I learned would upset others. But, the continual information that I encountered longed to be seen and heard.

Love – Stephanie XO

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