I was asked what I wanted in marriage, or how I saw marriage as it's supposed to be. This has been difficult for me to figure out, as I never really wanted marriage to begin with. Add to that my marriage being not good from the start, and well.. what do I know about marriage??
Now, like everyone else, I'm sure, I've seen happy marriages. I've seen married couples who've grown old together, and still seem in love. They're cute. And I know it's work -- just living with someone else is aggravating at times. But I've never seen a couple who made me want what they had.
To me, the cons of marriage have always outweighed the pros. So why did I get married in the first place? I wanted security, a family.. and to please my parents. I was already a single parent when I got married.. and I was pregnant on my wedding day. There was a lot of unspoken pressure to marry, and marry quickly, I think. I thought marriage would give me security - financially, emotionally.. that here was someone who I could talk to, could count on because we were going through things together.
I think if I were to do it again -- and that is a big if! -- marriage would have to be more than just security. I'm not afraid of being a single parent now, and if being an unwed mother was bad in my parents' eyes, being a divorcee is worse, so I no longer feel pressure to be or stay married. I have children now, and while I'd like more (I always did want a large family .. weird I know.. ) I'm ok if I don't.
So what would a marriage need to be like for me to want to be married?
I think it comes down to one thing: I want to feel special. I want to feel like I'm worth something to someone, that I'm important -- important enough that they would give up something just to be with me, to spend time with me. I want to feel as though I'm worth sacrifice.
Obviously, I want to be treated with respect. I want to be heard, and for my opinion to be valued. I want someone to think that my wants are important, and that they remember them, because they like me.
I want to be pursued.
I don't think I'll be able to settle again for less. If someone wants to be with me, they will have to prove it.. and the thing is -- I've learned I'm worth the effort.
Now I know this all seems very me-focused, but I do want to give to someone else too. I want to be someone's best friend, to share their dreams as they share mine. I want to be able to cuddle and just be together, without needing to do something or even talk together, but just enjoy the company while doing our own things. I want to be able to talk for hours, about everything, and anything, and nothing at all. I want to be able to point out my/our kids' funny or adorable sayings and actions and have inside jokes and shared memories. I want to work together on projects that benefit the family, and trade ideas and build off one another. I want to look forward to waking up next to them.
I want us as a couple to be better together than we would be apart.
I do miss being held. Not that I was held often. I miss looking up and sharing the delight over a child. Not that he paid attention that often. I miss feeling excited about seeing him -- the last time I felt excited over seeing him was while we dated.. knowing he was coming home during our marriage brought fear, not excitement.
I think I miss what I thought marriage was going to be, not what it was. And I think I've been missing that for a very long time..