After having been married for almost three years to Kim, the world’s most wonderful lady, I have come to believe more than ever that marriage is not for me.
Did I just shock you? Read on and let me make myself clearer.
Kim and I went to the same high school and since we were 15 years old, we were the best of friends. We remained so through college and even after we got our own careers. Then, after more than 10 years of being close to each other, we decided we wanted to be more than just friends. We got married. There surely is nothing better than for long-time best friends to fall in love and get married.
But I was not always absolutely sure about that. As our wedding date was approaching, I developed doubts and anxiety that I was not thinking correctly or that I was not doing what was for my best interest. Was I correct in deciding to get married? Was I making the right choice of partner? Would she make me happy?
Fear gripped me, and I did not know how to go forward. So I opened up to my father and sought his counsel.
There are pivotal moments in a person’s life when he knows that his life is taking a radically different direction. One such moment happened for me on that evening when I talked with my father. His words changed my perception of my life forever.
My father patiently listened to my confession of my fears about getting married, and after I stopped talking, he just smiled and told me, “Seth, your perception of marriage is selfish. So I want you to be clear in your head about it: marriage is not for you.”
“You don’t get married with a partner in order to make yourself happy; you marry the lady you love because you want to dedicate your life to her, you want to take care of her, and you want to make her happy!” my father explained very deliberately, making sure I understood him.
“And beyond two people vowing to make each other happy, marriage is about making a family, about the future children. Who would you want to have children with? Who would you want to nurture and raise kids with? Marriage is not about you. Marriage is about people who really matter to you,” my father said.
My father showed me how selfish I was, and I was ashamed. But he also showed me my own heart. I loved Kim, and I wanted us to share our lives together and I wanted us to raise a family together. I wanted her and our future family to be happy together.
I have been deeply immersed in the prevailing “Me First” syndrome that afflicts so many in the modern world where “self” is number #1 priority. My father’s words were a wake up call to rise beyond immature preoccupation of my own self-interest, and to see my own worth in relation to the good I could bring to others, especially those close to me.
And marriage is the perfect human vehicle for a couple to actualize their mutual devotion to each other’s happiness and wellbeing. A genuine marriage is not about seeking your own happiness first. Marriage is not for you. It is for seeking the happiness of the person you love.
Not long ago, my wonderful wife showed me what selfless love meant. I was at that time under immense pressure from both my work and my personal life as a result of which, I became irritable, selfish and inconsiderate to others. Instead of becoming irritable herself, Kim showed patience, deep understanding and unquestioning love. I caused her pain, but she showed me compassion. She showed me that she married me not for herself.
I realized that even in marriage, I kept focus on myself, on my self-interests. I had forgotten my father’s words. This realization brought me immense sadness. I tearfully asked for Kim’s forgiveness and promised to be a better husband.
To you my friend, let me make it clear: Marriage is not for you. Any kind of love relationship is not for you. Love is for the one you love.
Seth Adam Smith’s story