When I met my boyfriend, I instantly knew he was The One. He felt familiar, as if a key character in a past life or a wandering soul I was destined to join. He held my hands and electricity rushed up my arms. He wrapped his arms around me and I felt safe. By the end of our first date, I understood why it never worked out with anyone else.
Thankfully, he felt similarly, and we’ve been talking casually about marriage for the last four and a half years. Our shared view that happy couples become less happy following marriage gradually transformed into an agreement that maybe we should eventually get married (but only to appease our parents). Over the last year, it’s evolved into a deep sense of daily awe (wow, we really are perfect for each other, aren’t we?) and the idea that maybe—most likely—we would fall in that blissful minority of married folk who get it, who love each other through all the ups and downs of life.
A few days ago, we were lying in bed and he mentioned that he was pondering how he would propose to me. In our early days of dating, we would watch over-the-top proposals and he would ask me, “What would you say if I proposed like that?” We laughed, often hysterically, and I told him all the hoopla isn’t necessary. But he loves going all out, showing up and making a statement.
He brought up a video where a man stands on a bridge with a ring and falls backwards off the bridge as his future bride approaches. The woman ran hysterically toward the edge, then realizing that her future groom had fallen onto a huge, inflated pillow. You’ve never seen someone’s face so rapidly transition from elation to terror, and then relief and rage. Again, the question came up: “What if I proposed like that?”
I looked him in the eyes, stoically, and replied simply: “No. I would kill you” I would become hysterical, and he knows it. He smiled and kissed my forehead—he knows.
“Dear, the answer is yes,” I responded lightly with a smile and small chuckle, “you don’t need to do…anything.”
Though true—he doesn’t even need propose, let alone do something extravagant—the mere thought that he’s spending his days musing on how he might make things official makes my smile just a little wider.
An old adage states that it’s the small things the truly matter: a smile, a kind word, an instance of beauty, a stoke of good luck, or a gracious thought. With the constant chaos of life, I am continuously and immensely thankful for the promised glimmers of goodness every day—a morning goodbye kiss, little love notes, shared meals, and before-bed snuggling.
“As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.”
And I believe that it is the key to a successful relationship—the continual becoming. Everyone has the duty to continually seek his true nature and evolve into the best version of himself. So often, marriages disintegrate because one person feels that the other “isn’t the person they married,” with the participants clearly not realizing that change is inevitable. Change is the only constant, and marriage is encouraging, supporting, and accepting the person that your loved one is becoming.
My boyfriend and I have both changed significantly during our time together. We’ve changed interests, adjusted priorities, and learned to pick our battles. Yet, it’s through the changes—though us both grappling to discover who we are truly meant to become—that we’ve come to love each other more and more deeply each day. Life is filled with uncertainty but I’m doing my best and you’re doing your best, and we’re in this together, forever.