About a year ago, I realized I had been lying to myself…I had been dating to date, dating to cure boredom, dating to spend time with fun people and, occasionally, even dating to blog.
But whatever I was doing, I certainly wasn’t dating to marry, as I had been professing.
An endless procession of tidy first dates would do the trick to keep the facade while hiding the fear.
When I realized this, I asked myself what my big fear was. What was keeping me from opening up?
And the answer was quite simple.
You see, I was afraid of falling out of love.
I was afraid of succumbing to the fate of no many around me. The rough bumps and ends to marriage inundated my social media while the low-lit bits of lasting love were locked in the layers of mild moments and simple smiles for which words seem too inadequate and public proclamations too cheap. I was barraged with the tough and blind to the tender.
So I set out to change my perspective, my heart and my fear.
With so many of my friends that have gone through so much heartache after faltering and failed marriages, I began my quest to find the magic hidden in marriage–understanding that it is never a fairy-tale. I set out to ask married people two simple questions:
“How do you know you still love your spouse?”
“What is the key to a successful marriage?”
I asked newlyweds of a week, widowers who had been married for over 60 years, taxi drivers, grandparents, my parents, friends–everyone who’s ear I could borrow. All in all, I have asked over 100 people during the last year.
To the second question I get the same answer over and over and over: the key to a successful marriage is work. Work to serve the other, work to keep things exciting, work to show appreciation…wonderful work.
The answers to the first have varied and have been fascinating, but before I go into what they said, I am curious to hear what you, here on fathers day especially, have to say.
If you are married, how do you know you still love your spouse?
If you are single, how would you HOPE to answer this question?
I’ll put together a follow-up blog post on all the results.
But I will say this much–after this last year of research, I am no longer afraid of marriage. It seems to me to be like a garden. A veritable heaven on earth that brings joy and happiness and peace…if, and only if, tended after.