dputiger commented to me the other night, regarding this post, that I’ve been very lucky. And I think in one sense he’s right. The chances that I’d find who I was looking for, that she would be attracted to me in return, and that she would turn out to be the treasure that avivahg is, are probably pretty slim.
On the other hand, I’m not sure luck has played a big part in the success of our marriage. We’ve been through periods in the 3 1/2 years we’ve been married that many, perhaps most couples would have gotten divorced over. I think the fact we are still together has more to do with a stubborn insistance on keeping to our commitments than with luck.
The most telling comment that he made was that for every successful marriage, there are several where one or both partners wake up one day to realize they made a terrible mistake. I think this reflects a difference in attitude between us and other couples. See, here’s the thing: I’ve been there. I have had those moments of realizing I made a terrible, rash, foolish mistake that I never should have made. But I didn’t stop there and give up. I made a commitment, and that means sticking with it even when it seems like an awful life-ruining mistake. And guess what? Things got better. And then they got worse again, and then they got even better, and so on, and I came to realize that having those moments of regret is probably a normal part of marriage. The question is, what do you do when you have them?
A lot of people these days seem to think “commitment” means popping the question and then walking down the aisle six months later without chickening out. Commitment to me is about honoring my word no matter how stupid it may seem in retrospect. It means being determined to make something work, because failure is not an option.
Another reason I think our happiness isn’t a result of chance is that by the time I got married, I had long rejected the myth of compatibility. I had realized that there is no such thing as “the one”, or even if there is, thinking of it in terms of finding “the one” is counterproductive. Many of your potential partners will seem like your perfect match at first, and all of them will seem like a terrible mismatch at some point if you stick with them long enough. Modern dating culture has become obsessed with the idea of shopping around for “the one”, to the point that relationships fall apart as soon as a couple comes across their first serious incompatibility. I think this, more than anything, contributes to how “unlucky” modern marriages seem to be – the idea that if you run into conflict, you must have picked the wrong person.
In the final analysis, I think I’ve been unbelievably lucky to have gotten avivahg, both as I met her and even more as she is now that we both have changed and evolved over the past few years. It’s difficult now to imagine anyone else bringing me the fulfillment that she does. But at the same time, we could have easily been just another “mistake”, terminated six months or a year after conception. And luck had nothing to do with the fact that we didn’t go that route.