Successful Marriages Are Actually Full of Question Marks

Maressa Brown

married coupleEveryone knows that person who says they're not so sure about marriage. "Forever" seems like a really loooooooong time to them. How are they supposed to know if someone's their SOULMATE? And by the way, didn't you know that at this point, divorce is pretty much inevitable! So why bother, right?

This very same anti-commitment schpiel seems to Justin Timberlake's signature song and dance these days. He recently explained to Vanity Fair why he's not sold on marriage:

I think the mistake is that people commit to who that person is right then and not the person they're going to become. That's the art of staying together, is changing together. When you say it like that, it seems damn near impossible, right?

Ay yi yi. Well, I'll give commitaphobes like JT one thing: No one can know what their partner's going to be like 10, 20, 40 years down the road.

But that's too bad.

We're not supposed to know, and guess what? It shouldn't matter. Because when you say "I do," you are vowing to do your damndest to evolve with that person over the course of a lifetime. That's the beauty of marriage -- not a reason to run away from it flailing your arms and screaming.

I tend to think that when your relationship is right, you're happy, excited, elated, over the moon to change with the person you're marrying. Sure, it's still daunting, but it's not frightening.

Also, how much do we really change anyway? Looking at some of the couples I know who have stayed together 30+ years, I can't imagine it's all that much. My mom is just as quirky and artistic as she was when my father met her in the early '70s. And he's just as simultaneously ambitious and easy-going as he was in bell bottoms. Their core personalities are still there. It's not like most of us have total transformations as we age. We just gain more wisdom and maturity, and that's something that I think can easily be done with a partner. It's not easy, but you're supposed to grow -- together, not apart.

If you truly love the person you commit to, you figure it out as you go along. To me, changing together doesn't seem "damn near impossible" at all. In fact, it sounds a lot easier than facing a life of loneliness.

Are you intimidated by the idea of changing with your current or someday spouse, or do you think the unknowns are what makes marriage so great?



Image via Tim Dorr/Flickr

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