Love and life: Making it work pt. I
Anyone reading this blog who is in their twenties or thirties can attest to the difficulties of trying to maneuver through life and make relationships work. On the life side, many people in this stage of life are trying to negotiate undergrad, graduate school, starting careers, and relocating to different locations. Couple this with the fact with that many people look to get married by the time they are thirty give or take a couple years. So how are people supposed to make love and life work?
Many of us know people who have been in beautiful relationships that ended up not working out due to reasons often related to location. Whether it’s going to grad school in another state or taking a new job, long distance relationships are soon becoming (if not already) a required hurdle before two people jump the broom. So here is my advice to men.
For the guys who are in relationships and find themselves approaching a critical life/love juncture, you have to first and foremost open up your mouth and let your woman know what you want!! This should go without saying but many of us have difficulty expressing our emotions so if it is really hard, talk it out with a woman in your family and get some advice.
Aside from that, too many guys, (myself included) have these defined goals of what they think should be in place before they get married. I will use myself as an example. I think that my spiritual walk and my financials have to be tight before I propose. In my mind, these goals will provide a solid foundation for a fruitful marriage and I will remain resolute in this thinking regardless of how “ready” my companion may be otherwise.
This thinking is flawed because depending on how stubborn you are; you may lose a good thing by trying to make everything perfect. When a woman knows that you are down for the long haul, she will ride for you til the end. So if you find yourself thinking about changing up your plans, ( e.g. not getting caught up with getting married at a certain age or not obsessing over your salary) then that might mean you are finally on your way on becoming marriage ready. Because in case you forgot, marriage is all about compromising and many married men will tell you that you will end up giving in the most. So if you can’t compromise in the pre-marriage phase, what makes you think you are going to be Mr. Understanding when you do get married?
Additionally, before you propose you should think about why you want to do it. I came up with two reasons why a man shouldn’t propose. The first is desperation. Implicit in this mistake is getting married to fill in a missing piece by a certain time. Because as my good friend Garlin put it, “you don’t have to do anything right now.” Take a second and let it sink in. So if you have finished grad school, working, and feeling pressure from anyone (your girl or your family) for you to settle down and you are not ready yet, just know you don’t have to do it right now. Of course, I don’t mean wait until you are 60 years old but nevertheless, don’t live your live according to externalized expectations.
A similar but related problem is that of obligation. This is the thinking like, “Well, her parents like me and my parents like her so I guess we should just get married.” Marriage is not something you do just because there is nothing better to do. And just because your family likes your girl, it doesn’t mean that she is the one. There are a lot of women that will make your mother proud and may receive her approval. But so freakin’ what!!! Your mother won’t be getting married to this girl so try to avoid getting married to make your family proud. And lastly, try proposing because you want to spend the rest of your life with someone and not because you haven’t found any one better “yet”.
All in all, keep your goals in mind and strive for them but don’t become a slave to them such that you never find fulfillment and happiness. And when love comes around, don’t put it on your task list but cherish it and be open to the changes that a new relationship may provide. More advice to come,
Stay up fam,