In the same week, I’ve had a friend get engaged, an estranged friend get divorced, and I’ve RSVPed to the wedding of a much older long-time widower cousin, who is going for a second chance at love.
Love is unpredictable and friggin nuts.
A friend of mine kind of described the transference of love like a baby being born at the same that someone utters their last breath. But I hope that someone hasn’t had to endure a horrible pain just so I could be happy or vice versa. I hope that’s really not how it works.
Love is hard to find. It’s hard to keep and maintain.
Yet we put ourselves through it. We keep wanting it and fighting for it. It’s insane. Sometimes I hate that we are wired this way. Wired to need love. We need it, just like we need water and air and food and shelter and to be touched. We just do.
Sometimes we single ourselves out and make it like our love story is unique and filled with drama and twists and turns and that everyone on the outside never knows “the half.” Well, it’s kind of true. But everyone has their set of struggles, bad apples, frogs and disasters.
There have been people who have had devastating loss. There are people who felt like they’d never be loved. There are the people who, from the outside you thought had the perfect life, who are living a lie for several years. I even know of people who were high school sweethearts, who lived through long-distance relationships in college to be married for a good while and then still split.
My heart! Dang. Why can’t people stay together anymore? It’s so sad and it makes you wonder if the moment you fall for someone you are immediately set up for failure…eventually. No one’s relationship is perfect. No one is happy every single day of their life.
But what happens?
As I get older and recognize that the fairy tale is just that and anyone in a long-lasting relationship works ridiculously hard, sometimes I get pains in my chest.
I am told by my sister, who is a 12-year marriage veteran, that even though marriage is a lot of hard work, when you love that person and they love you, you are already equipped with just enough of what you need to put into your marriage and keep it going. You’ve figured out what you dislike about them and are honest about it, but you realize you can accept it and it’s not so horrible you can’t deal. You want to give, you want to work at it.
Am I willing to work that hard for someone everyday? And will I find someone willing to work that hard for and with me everyday too? According to my sister, it’s about finding the right person who makes me feel that way.
I pray for my friend who is recently engaged. She’s waited a long time for it. Some camps feel like because they’ve been together so long and have been living together, they already know what they are getting into. Then I’ve heard stories about those couples who after saying I do, breakup only months later. I don’t understand the psychology of that.
I pray for my ex-friend who is embarking on a new world and rejoining us in the land of the single. She also has a small child. While I was shocked that she was among the first of our college friends to get married, I still rooted for her. I still wanted her to have a positive and healthy and happy marriage. So even though we don’t talk I am sad for her and I hope she can heal and find joy in her life and manage to co-parent their child successfully, whatever the definition of successfully might be to that family.
I also pray for my older cousin. He’s dated his bride probably for over a decade for sure. I tend to love weddings for people 40 and over because there’s a different kind of celebration and joy happening. There is something very honest about those unions.
I don’t want to say the love is more genuine or real, but it feels much more relaxed. Normally, the bride and groom have either been married before and they’ve had grown children, they’ve lived long enough to fully understand who they are, and that at this point they ain’t changing, and damn it the other person accepts it.
They aren’t looking to “grow” in the same way a couple in their 20’s or early 30’s often desires to “grow” with one another or “grow” their families. There is no pressure to do that. The older folks have grand and sometimes great-grandchildren. Older people are on their way to retirement or about to retire. They know they are getting older, the reality of mortality is quite prominent and they want to LIVE. They’ve stopped asking others for permission. I guess the saying is true that youth is wasted on the young.
I don’t blame them.
I believe that when older people get married, the expectations of others and how they present their relationship to the outside world isn’t really a factor the way it is for younger couples. They do what they want to do and they’ve earned the right to.
I get particularly misty at women 40 and older getting married for the first time. Yall my patron saint of mature woman first marriages is the fabulous Mellody Hobson Lucas. She is my patron saint of successful women tying the knot for the first time after 40. And she and her husband, you might know him, George Lucas just had a baby girl via surrogate. This chick is doing it. Before she even got with King Star Wars, she was spectacular and ridiculously impressive in her own right. She gives me hope that if you find the right kind of love later and if you are patient, you can have what you want and have it on a greater level.
I actually want to sit down with ol girl and ask her about her old boyfriends and when or if she started to trip in her 30s about not finding the right man and being surrounded by idiots until meeting and growing a relationship with George. I’m obsessed with them. It’s a great story.
But I struggle with the patience thing. I struggle with feeling like even if I found the supreme love of my life in my 40s, I should have had my 30s to start enjoying my life with him. Arrogant right, God? Telling you how to do your job. Sorry. Work with me here send him soon, please. Please.
I’ve read articles about people marrying later have longer lasting marriages because they’ve spent enough time with themselves to know who they are and know how to accept others for who they are.
Accepting others for who they are tends to be a major theme for people on the path to getting married. In “It’s Hard to Fight Naked,” author Niecy Nash says basically if you are dating someone and you have a list of things you want to change about them you aren’t ready to marry them. If you can accept someone for who they are right then and there on the spot, then you are on to something.
I’ve found that even in the course of my dating, I’ve been finding something wrong with EVERYBODY. So does this mean I’m ready for marriage? Probably not, but I do know I want to get there someday. Another piece of getting older is telling people what you want and meaning it regardless of their reaction.
Of all of the people I’ve been talking to in terms of dating, I really, really like the young guy in Atlanta. I told him that I want to get married in a few years. He understands he may not be the one, however we are still friends and from time to time he will say to me, “I truly hope you find the husband that deserves you.” Which in my opinion, makes him one of the most mature guys I’ve dealt with in a while 23 be damned.
Oh, it kills me when he says that, because in my mind, if he were six years older, dating him seriously would be a no-brainer.
If I was already in my 40s and he in his 30s, I probably wouldn’t care and be happily dating him. Snaps.