Wedding, Squared

In Marriage on November 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Dear Yenta,

Mr. X, recently proposed to me. Mr. X, soon after the engagement, started freaking out about marriage and commitment. I cut him slack because he has a lot of emotional baggage, but it was torture for me. Meanwhile, an ex-boyfriend from my teenage years confessed his love for me, also proposing. Now I am torn between Mr. X and Mr. Y. Both would make amazing fathers and I want babies soon. I can’t decide between them and am afraid of losing whichever I turn down.


Dear Torn,

When a man gets on one knee and proposes marriage he is saying, or should be saying, a few things. He is saying he is mature, ready to commit himself to another. He is saying he is formed as a person, willing to hold up his end of a relationship in order to be yours forever. If, days after kneeling before you, he freaks out and makes this freak out your problem, chances are he isn’t holding up his end of the emotional bargain.

For marriage, two whole people should meet mid-way, unify, and create a life together of balance suitable, in your case, for raising children. This sounds strict, or idealistic, but we only live once and only choose once, supposedly, for marriage. Why not set the standard high and live a life in accordance with this high bar?

You know in your heart if X or Y is your match, better than any friend, family member or random online column could tell you. Or neither is your match, which is always an option. In choosing a husband you don’t have to settle, ever. This is your one life, your one partner. Are you sticking with Mr. X because you are afraid to hurt him? Afraid to leave the comfort of those five years? Or because you truly love him and want him to be the person who represents half of you forever?

And Mr. Y, have you kissed him? Is there chemistry? Will you feel braver or bolder with X or Y on your arm? With which man will you feel exquisite when you walk into a crowded room? Which man makes you feel more proud of your own identity when seen through his eyes? And which man do you truly believe in? Who will hold you when you are mourning, comfort you when you are birthing, and who would you want to comfort through equally challenging life hurdles?

This is not about a Vera Wang dress and a bow on a cake, this is not about right now or feeling less or more guilty, this is a decision about how much joy, beauty, and happiness you want to leak into your life. If Mr. X failed you after asking you to commit to him forever, what does that predict might follow down the road? Beware of potholes that turn into manholes, and don’t be afraid of the possibility of happily ever after. This prospect is often more terrifying than the prospect of a failed marriage and requires bravery and self-love to embrace.

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