Recently I had the opportunity to help and guide a friend through his miseries. I won’t talk about the details of his problems. But out of our many conversations one conversation struck a cord in my mind. I said to him, “tell her you don’t just want to marry her but rather you want to spend and live the rest of your life with her.” Now, I know many people will ask what the difference between marriage and spending and/or living your life with someone is.
Here’s my explanation:
Marriage is a bond between two people mutually involved and invested in the bond. Kind of like a contract. You say your vows, those are the rules you have promised to live by. You exchange rings, those are the final signatures. Then you go on your honeymoon and celebrate the finalization of the contract. You consummate the marriage. You then move in with each other if you haven’t already done so. For the next few years every thing is perfect and peachy. Then she gets pregnant, another responsibility is added to the already big list. The couple ends up spending the next 20-25 years invested in this child and then finally that child begins to live their own life. After that the couple retires. One person gets sick, the other takes care of them. Then one passes away and the other moves forward until it’s their time.
Can you see the trend? Marriage is such a structured union of two beings. Of course, there are the incidences when things don’t go that way. But let’s keep this post about life and marriage and not depress the topic.
Life on the other hand, is a completely other ordeal. To spend your life or better yet, live your life with someone else is one of the hardest and most rewarding things in the world that anyone of us can experience. There are no rules. There is no structure. There are no contracts. Living your life with someone just happens. It’s not agreed upon. It just happens!
The life you live when you’re living it with someone is much more different than any married life lived. Yes, because human nature adapts to routine, structure and methodology, this couple may also follow similar steps as a married couple. For instance, they may live together, they may have a child together, they may even go on vacations together to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays ,etc. However, they live life in sync with each other. They don’t plan every next step. They have a mutual understanding of one another and their relationship. They have not “tried” to make it work. It just works!
And how one lives their life with someone else, you ask?
It starts with friendship. No relationship is secure without friendship being the first step or pedestal. Friendship is the bond that no marriage can explain or come to; unless of course the marriage started with friendship. Friendship is the union of two-beings who understand, adapt, compromise, respect and trust one another. It is the thing that after a fight, argument or disagreement no one is left wounded. Silence does not kill a mood. Unspoken words are understood conveniently. Laughter flows easily and over silly meaningless things. Happiness is felt in both hearts. A feeling of bliss or warmth is set in and around their home. Friendship is one of those things that many of us think we’re fortunate to have, yet barely ever get to experience.
I know, you’re probably thinking that I’ve completely lost my mind and that I’m just babbling on now. But think about it for a second; do you have at least one friend who you’ve gotten to know who can put up with all your flaws, all your faults, all your bull-shit and still turn around and smile at you? Do you have that one person who would rather jump in front of a train for you then see you get hit by it? Do you have that one person who you’ve called up in the middle of the night and just said “I can’t sleep, so sit with me until I fall asleep”? And have they? How many times? Would they always do it? Even if they had work in a few hours? Or were exhausted? Do you have someone that will spoil you rotten one minute and then the next teach you the value of money and life? Or would wipe your tears and make you smile or at least start crying at the sight of seeing you cry?
It’s really hard to find someone who will sit through it all. Yes, we make many friends along the way. Every few years we come to another curve in the road and are introduced to new people and a new way of life. But those friends that are met along the way are not the type of friends I’m referring to.
Look, here’s the thing, people will always be there for you as long as you’re willing to have them in your life. And you’ll have many friends. One for coffee, one for shopping, one for bitching, one for ranting, one for drinking, one for partying, one for hanging out, etc, etc, etc.
The friendship or friend I’m referring to is the one that is all of those things combined and so much more. It is the one person who you just look at and know that without them in your life you would be clueless and lost. Without them your existence would barely matter. They are more than your other or better half. They are more than a soul-mate. They are more than a love or lover. They are the ones that complete you.
Someone like that is extremely hard to find. But we can be hopeful for the people that we do find in our lives. We can try and transform those people in becoming that person to us and us to them. We can build our friendship with them to reflect all those things I’ve mentioned above. And if we’re fortunate enough, it just happens without us even having to try. And as the years of this friendship or relationship go by, you realize you’ve just lived your life with them. Life just happens with them. There is no planning or structure or rules or contract to sign. It just happens.
So, as you can see, my point has been proven: Living your life with someone and being married to someone are two completely different things. Marriage is a great thing, even with the person you’re living your life with. But it can sometimes become too demanding, too structured, too much of a routine. Life on the other hand is unexplained and like I said, “It just happens!”