I still don’t think it all has hit me. In 24 days I become a married man, a commitment I never thought I could make; A commitment I never knew I wanted to make.
I realized as I thought about this on my drive home today that it hasn’t been something I frequently talk about in my writing. Refraining from talking about it has never been a conscious choice and I’ve never thought too deeply about the reasons why. I think it partly is because my relationship is the most important thing to me, so I like keeping it as much to myself, to ourselves, as possible. I like keeping it out of the places where everyone has an opinion. When feelings are out in the world of human existence, intensions get so twisted, disoriented, and out of touch with reality. Life feels a bit safer when you detach something so consequential from something so detrimental.
Another reason I refrain from writing about ‘love’ is because I can rarely pin-point where to even begin with this complex emotion. If I were to write all my thoughts on love, nothing would ever flow or make sense because it’s such a fascinating, intricate, complex part of life. Love is constant but it never stays the same. It is so unbelievably unpredictable, chilling, apprehensive, and addicting. It can make you feel a high unlike any drug, yet it can also make you feel a low unlike any comedown.
The most fascinating thing to me about love is how it evolves form the initial intoxication.
To go back to the beginning of our adventure, it all started with a simple conversation amongst a group of us at work. Christmas Eve was here and everyone was discussing their plans for the night. I had mentioned I needed to make sure I got to the liquor store for my honey whiskey before the store closed. A few hours later, this conversation already history to me, I received a text that simply read, “Hey, I’m at the liquor store. Do you want me to pick you up some honey whiskey?”
It was something so simple that ignited my curiosity. Though I tried hard, and I mean really hard, to play it off as nothing, it was that instinctive feeling that sparked an intriguing conversation. I don’t really like to text, yet I found myself fascinated with getting to know this mysterious person that it consumed my thoughts and time that night.
How could this be happening to me?
After months of learning how to stay numb and run away from anything that mirrored a relationship, this one conversation was a direct hit to the walls I had built so high. Walls I had built so high that I believed they were beyond indestructible.
Despite this overwhelming feeling of wondering if this could end up something more, I couldn’t let my mind go there. Trusting anyone wasn’t really my thing anymore, and I had come to terms with that a while ago. So I did what I tend to always do, I tried to forget about it completely. We had made a plan to go out for some drinks or something on the eve of New Years Day and I honestly forgot about it, something I didn’t admit for a long time. The night was over, the conversation was over, my emotions were over… I thought?
Days later, my now fiance asked me if we were still on for our date that night. After getting my Grandma to be my excuse should something get weird, I responded affirmatively as if I’d never forgotten about it to begin with. Why? Because I hate the feeling of letting someone down, even if it was someone I barely knew. Also, let’s face it; the whole thing did intrigue me so why not go out and just have a night on the town and not develop any feelings.
This would be easy right? Just another person to fill my time, another night of conversation that would quickly be done and over with.
I wouldn’t be writing about this had it gone that way; despite my greatest efforts, she was different. Despite my need to remain detached from these emotions, I just couldn’t. The “date” that I had an excuse ready to go by 10:00 PM to end this turned into a night of joy riding, listening to some music quietly, and talking into the late hours of the night. As luck would have it, this would also be the first time I saw her Dad… We had pulled back up to her house, 3:00 in the morning, and there he was, getting in his truck for work. Though it was dark, I saw from a distance the look on his face right then and there. I knew what that look was, no words needed to be spoken. I knew this was a man who loved and adored his daughter and he’d be damned if I tried to hurt her and cut communication out of my fears.
As I drove home that night I realized how this girl had reminded me of everything that I once desired and everything I actually wanted in a life partner—a genuine conversation, exhilarating laughs, a contagious smile; someone who had dreams they wanted to see happen. Someone who was just as stubborn, yet understanding; adventurous but fearful.
It really didn’t take long before she became the one person who seemed to have the ability to make me forget just how broken I genuinely was.
So what did this mean? It meant I had a choice. I could take a risk and pursue this moment, opening myself to get hurt again, or I could let it pass by and continue my life alone. That was my comfort zone. I had become an expert at silencing the clock and learning to be alone.
Time went on and the thrill from this high continued for a while, but like everything in life, what goes up must eventually come down.
This doesn’t have to come down in the way we’ve always believed. The come down could be to a stability, to a peace, to a place of comfort. You have to get to this place to make something last, especially loving another person because love is not a feeling. Love is not the high. Love is a choice and selfless act that you have to commit to each and every day. It was something I devoted to try. Something I jumped into hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
Sometime’s love is just tough, especially when you’ve relied so much on your independence.
It feels like this uphill battle of understanding how to make sacrifices and how to be selfless without losing sense of who you are. It’s figuring out that being your own person and being one half of a whole doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive things. You can be your own person and have your own life, yet also understand that you’re part of a team now and that every decision you make is going to affect her too.
It’s a wonderful thing to think about sometimes – that you’re not alone, that you have someone on your side, that you have someone fighting for you. But it’s also an insane thing to think about – you have someone counting on you now, you have someone whose happiness should matter as much if not more to you than your own. You can’t just pick up and move across the country when you feel like it. You can’t just spend a large amount of money on something when you feel like it. You can’t just make a huge life decision based solely on you and what you want. You have a partner now – you have someone who will both totally support you and totally depend on you.
So, the burning question… “Why do I want to get married?”
I was content being single, not getting married, and pursuing my life in that direction. What changed for me was the same thing thrill that captivated me from the inception. The fascination of how this love evolved from it’s initial intoxication. In the beginning of our relationship, the spark was from the infatuation, the high, the thrill of being with each other as much as we could be. That was great and all, but that was not sustainable.
The intoxication now is the amount of joy I feel from doing something that I know will make her happy, or something that will make her life easier, even if it doesn’t benefit me. The high now is that I’ve seen parts of myself come to the surface – areas that never emerged until she was in my life. The thrill now is conversations I have with her that make me feel more understood or worth it enough to work on a problem, resolve an issue. The spark now is seeing that she can still surprise me, that there are still things I learn about her, that I never knew.
It’s a different kind of intoxication, a different kind of magic, and it’s the discovery and the adventure I want to continue on for a long, long time.