You’ve seen the headlines: “Marry a man that fill-in-the-blank.”
Your heart swells and you click “Read more.”… A few lines in, you start to wonder if this type of man even exists. And if you have a man, you begin second-guessing every move he’s ever made and if he can actually ride the waves of your wild, multifaceted heart. Let’s be honest: Most men can’t ride the waves of the seasonal flu let alone the unrelenting tides of female emotion.
And before we dive headfirst into the rabbit role of chasing perfection, I think we must pay homage to the truth. For many years, prior to saying “I do” myself, I held the relationship advice from those that boasted several decades of faithful monogamy in the highest regard. I thought, obviously they know the secret to a happy, successful marriage. They’ve been at it long enough, right? It often goes something like this: “Don’t go to bed angry,” “Put your relationship first,” or “Never stop dating one another.” And perhaps that’s what keeps their coffee hot in the morning, but that’s not the secret.
The secret is getting unabashedly real, really fast.
We think we know our significant other because time is the common denominator. The more time we spend with one another, the more we know of their true self, right?
You’ve seen them cry; they’ve seen you pee.
You know about their mother’s alcoholism and they know that you used to eat lunch in the bathroom in high school while talking to your mom on your Nokia flip phone.
You’ve told them about your HPV and lied about how many people you’ve slept with. And then told the truth.
You’ve broken the golden rule of friendship and relayed your best friend’s secret you promised not to speak of again.
You’ve laid your life baggage on the bar between two cold beers and hot wings, and neither of you asked for the check.
You’ve counseled one another in big life decisions regarding occupations, family drama, or fair-weather friends.
You met the family and shared authentic laughter over sunny side eggs and dark diner coffee.
You’ve met their friends and their approval came in the form of an adoring nickname after a night of too many brews at your local brewery.
You bravely bared your most dishonorable secrets through wine-stained lips and made love for two hours under the silky sheets of vulnerability.
You settled into a routine and maybe you even settled down in a rented downtown bungalow, bought a rescue dog and a juicer and went to 8PM power yoga on Wednesdays.
And somewhere between the recurring Monday through Sunday, an argument arises. One that pings your soul a bit, and your conscience furrows her brow. You shrug it off, hoping desperately that it was a one-time blip. A few pleasant weeks pass and similar triggers abruptly propel a familiar argument. Your intuition rolls her eyes and exclaims, “See! I knew something wasn’t right!” You roar back, “Hush! He’s just having a bad day!”
But, you see, this is where the snowball starts. A minuscule flake of ice-cold truth: This isn’t going to work.
Soon enough, you’re navigating a landscape of endless, sporadic landmines, praying that the next step, the next conversation, the next outing doesn’t result in detonation. Maybe you’re too prideful to admit you were wrong. Maybe he read all of the Fifty Shades novels just so he could touch you in ways that keep you on your toes…or on your knees. Maybe he’s kind and his heart is sweet as your Grandma’s apple pie. Maybe he could be the next face of GQ. Maybe he knows just how you take your coffee—down to the half-pump of white chocolate because it speaks to your worthiness for decadence.
But the sex, the sweetness, and the Starbucks order isn’t going to mask the foundational differences, whether they’re a product of your upbringing or the beliefs you have garnered through life experience.
So, how can we avoid the ones that make us swoon but don’t have the capacity to hold our hearts in every moment? The ones that score a seemingly impressive nine out of ten on our emotional, mental, and spiritual needs card?
The answer is: Don’t fucking settle. Even for the 9 out of 10.
Because if it’s not a “fuck yes,” it’s a no.
Being modest and taking things slow is highly overrated. Get deep. Right away. There’s no time to waste in matters of the heart.
Ask them about their religions preferences, their families, who they voted for in the 2016 election, how many kids they want or don’t want, where they want to live in five years, what money means to them, what they think of the moon and the stars, how they touch a woman in broad daylight and behind closed doors, their perceived importance of education, what they do for pleasure, if they know what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is, their opinion on global warming, LGBTQ rights, and if they know that a kitchen is only as clean as the kitchen sink.
Ask them all the things. Even the ones that get caught in your throat. Because there is no excuse and no quality that can make up for not digging what you dig, not vibrating at your frequency.
Finding yourself at the opposite end of the candle-lit table with human beings that don’t align with what you stand for and what you won’t stand for is the ultimate challenge of truth, self-worth, and authenticity.
Will this person assist you in staying true to and, in times, assist in guiding you back to your core, your spirit, and your female divinity? If the answer is no, don’t hesitate to bid your date adieu before the main course. This move takes the kind of courage and forthrightness that creates pitter-patter in our hearts, but it’s a beaming thank you from our intuition for expediting abundance by bypassing heartbreak.
This means that you are choosing veracity over comfort, more over less, love over suffering, light over darkness, me over you, and “I don’t” over “I do.”
So do yourself a favor.
Ask the big questions before he pops the biggest one.