By: Davida Brown
When I was a little girl, I loved all the princess fairy tales. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty…I couldn’t get enough. Each time the Prince arrived, I’d clap with glee. He was always so dreamy and knew exactly what to say to melt the Princess’ heart. And, honestly, he melted mine. He seemed perfect in every way. I longed for the day when I too would meet my Prince and we’d ride off into the sunset, destined for a life filled with sunshine and blue skies.
As I grew up, I realized that fairy tales are just that. Not reality. Yes, I eventually met my Prince. Yes, he was dreamy. Yes, he said all the right things. Yes, he melted my heart. But that’s where the similarities ended. My husband is my Prince, but Perfect? No. And me, Perfect? Uh no. Our relationship, Perfect? Absolutely no. After we tied the knot, did we start a blissful life together? You already know the answer.
I recently read an article about marriage wherein the author questioned whether marriage is overrated. The author talked about how so many marriages fail, how couples aren’t really willing to put in the work to make the marriage thrive, how most marriages just coast along. Ultimately, the author concluded that most couples eventually discover that while marriage has benefits, it’s overrated, and for many, not really worth all the effort it requires.
As I reflected on the article, I couldn’t help but think back to my childhood, the fairy tales, and all the things I thought marriage would be. I was fortunate enough to see “marriage” in action firsthand, as I was raised by parents who were married until death. I was fortunate enough to witness how a couple communicates effectively. I was fortunate enough to witness how a couple should handle adversity, manage differences and move forward together. At the time, I didn’t know that those observations would shape my expectations of marriage. At the time, I didn’t know that those observations would supplant the fairy tale romance and notions of marriage I had as a small child. At the time, I had no idea that those observations would make me a believer—a believer that marriage, a great marriage, can never be overrated.
If anything, marriage is underrated and here’s why.
- Marriage is the quintessential team. My marriage is the only relationship I’ve experienced where another human being is 100% invested in me. My husband wants to experience, be part of, and influence my life’s journey. He wants me to “win” in every way possible and is committed to doing his part to see that happen. And yes it’s reciprocal. See what we’ve figured out is, my experiences affect him and as a result become part of his journey. When I’m happy, so is he. When I’m b*tchy, he’s off his game. When I’m stressed, so is he. When I succeed – promotion or other accomplishments – so does he. We are a team. There is no “I”, only “we” and “us.” I am truly an extension of him and him, an extension of me. What other relationship offers that?
- Marriage allows complete vulnerability. My marriage is the only relationship I’ve experienced where I can be 100% vulnerable and completely transparent. I can say those things I only think about and dare not say out loud for fear of rejection, disapproval or judgment. I can fail miserably and fall completely apart at the seams, because he’ll be there to help me pick up the pieces. I can be 100% me, flaws and all, without fear that he’ll leave me, because he gets that they’re part of me and make me the woman he simply can’t be without. What other relationship offers that?
- Marriage has incomparable sexual Intimacy. My body is 100% his and his is 100% mine. This fact unleashes a freedom and inhibition that is unparalleled. Can you have great, even toe-curling sex outside of marriage? Yes, but it pales in comparison to the intimacy and connection you’ll experience with your spouse. Our sex blows my mind. What other relationship offers that?
- Marriage is the highest high. When we are in sync, the happiness I feel is unmatched. It trumps my best day at work. It trumps my melting heart when my kids smile at me, call me mommy, and say they love me. In fact, that happiness is addictive. We both crave it, and during the “valleys”, we both start itching for that moment when we’ll be back at that happy place again. In what other relationship could I experience that?
Is my marriage a fairy tale? No. Have we experienced storms that nearly wiped us out? Yes indeed. Would I trade it for single hood or any other relationship? Not in a million years. Is it Overrated? No way, far from it.