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January 13, 2013

If You Have Love, Does Marriage Matter?

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/if_you_have_love_does_marriage_matter/

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Ever since I was little I wanted to get married.  When I tied the knot the first time it was a remarkable time in my life.  I loved my husband, my parents walked me down the aisle, all my siblings were there, and my life was full of hope and promise.  Even though my marriage did not last forever, I treasure the moment and look back at it fondly.

At the end of my wedding video my husband and me are on a balcony.  The videographer asks us to give a message about the day and I said something about it being the happiest day of my life, and it would only be surpassed by the birth of my child.  I said to my future children that I loved them, and they would be welcomed by two parents in love.

I remember the moment clearly and today, over 16 years later, I am so very thankful the message exists for my son.  My only regret in life is that my marriage did not last.  It was impossible for me to stay, but I wish I could have given my child a loving home with two caring parents who loved each other and gave him an example of a love he’d want for himself.

The Englishman is my third serious relationship of the past 16 years and my son is seeing me with a man who may be my forever.  He sees his mother being treated with kindness, patience, and respect.  He sees how a man should treat a woman, and he sees peaceful resolutions to conflict.  We fight of course, but it is fair, respectful, calm, and kind.

I love the Englishman and our relationship is very happy.  I feel safe, respected, and understood.  He may be the last man I love and that is a lovely feeling.  He loves me, but I want to get married again, and he does not. My dream is to marry actually, and his reality is to never marry again.  We are both happy, but want different endings to our story.

I have found a great love and so I have to ask, does marriage matter?  Can I live happily ever after without the fairytale ending?  Should I have to give up my dreams?  I am very aware of how hard it was to get here and I cannot imagine my life without him as my partner, but marriage matters to me and I am struggling with the knowledge that it won’t happen with him.

If he asked me to marry him tomorrow I would say no because I know it is not what he wants and it would only be for me.  I want someone to marry me because he wants to, not because he fears he will lose me if he doesn’t. Marriage is hard and I will only do it one more time in my life, so I want to get it right and pressure cannot be a factor in the decision.

I am not looking to get married now, but I asked the Englishman if he would marry me before I turned 80 and he said he didn’t want to ever marry.  I almost wish he would have lied because if he said yes I would have known it was coming at some point in the next 34 years so there would be no pressure. Bless him for being honest with me and himself.

I am not wasting my time with this man.  Our time together is valuable and important.  Our love is real and so not being together is not an option. That said, does one give up their dreams for another?  Is it easier to give up a dream or try to start over and find someone with the same dream?  At 46 years old, can I change my dreams and not feel compromised?

The truth is that not being with him would be the compromise because if we were not together, I would feel I had settled.  I have had a big wedding and had a child with my husband.  It didn't work out.  I am not having anymore children, and if I were to describe the love i have now, without  marriage, I would say it is the type of love that dreams are made of.

I have found and lost love in my life and finding it is harder than losing it.  I am not letting this man go.  I am also not letting my dream go.  Life will go on and decisions will be made.  I am happy.  I value my dreams, trust my Englishman, and in the end I am smart enough to know love, wise enough to value love over a piece of paper, and brave enough to keep the faith.

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