Friday, October 06, 2006

Like a horse and carriage

I'm going to proceed with this blog post delicately, cause I know that both Erica, and friends of ours read this site sometimes. But yesterday Erica and I got into a serious and somewhat upsetting discussion about marriage and kids. Don't worry it was only somewhat upsetting, mostly because of a misunderstanding. And you other folks, no I'm not getting married and having kids literally today. But I would really like to soon. I have wanted to blog about this but haven't until now, not because I was worried that Erica might read it, but more that I didn't want to give anything away. Some level of surprise is expected with this sort of thing. The truth of the matter is though that I'm totally crazy about Erica, and of course I want to be with her. Maybe it's partly being two years younger than her, and maybe its partly just having the kind of personality where I'm fairly immature (in ways); but somehow unfortunately Erica really truly had the impression that I didn't and wouldn't be ready to make that kind of serious commitment anytime in the near future. Whereas the truth is that I've been thinking, extremely seriously (i know qualifying seriously is pretty hard) about getting married for the past two months or so. When I say seriously, I mean to the level where I've mentioned it and bounced it off a few of you, I've thought about timeframes, and about how I might want to do it. That's pretty serious if you ask me.

I'm talking about marriage here, although Erica really wants to talk kids, but I'll get to that in a second. Once you get to the point in a relationship where marriage is a real thought, I'd say that at least for me there are two qualifications that I think you should meet before you go for it. Firstly: will your partner say yes? this seems obvious to me, do you know your partner well enough to know what they want from your relationship? I mean, I firmly believe that you need to talk about getting married beforehand. It's not a thing to do lightly. Whether you take any religious angle into it or not its still an affirmation of a permanent commitment. I don't think you should really be asking someone to marry you if you aren't honestly sure if they will almost definitely say yes. Secondly, and this is key: do you think getting married will change your relationship? This is one that I think a lot of people get wrong for one reason or another. There's this totally crazy impression that I think a lot of people who are in (often bad) relationships have that goes that getting married will make everything better. Ever heard someone say "It'll be better when we're married", He'll clean up after himself, stop going to strip clubs, stop drinking, start exercise... etcetera, etcetera. It seems obvious to me, but there are a lot of people out there that think marriage is a cure all for any and every relationship woe. That is not true. I know I've never been married, but COME ON. I means seriously, that is just stupid. Marriage won't change who you are! So the question: will marriage change you or your relationship (in any significant way)? I think the answer should definitely be no.

What I found somewhat upsetting about my conversation with Erica yesterday was that for the past two months or so, since I've been seriously thinking about this whole thing, is that I've finally gotten to the point where I confidently have been able to answer both of those questions for myself, and think that I might actually be ready. Of course I never mentioned this to Erica, I mean, like if I was about to propose to E tomorrow I would like to keep some surprise to it. So then Erica suggesting that I am not ready, and that she is concerned cause she doesn't think I will be ready for a long time to come bothered me because it leads me to think that Erica doesn't think I meet that first criteria. Like she thinks that I wouldn't say yes (not that i think she is or would ever propose, despite her forthright feminism...), because I am not ready. Well if she doesn't think I am ready that makes me think that maybe she isn't as clear on my feelings as I'd hoped :(

What bugged me more was that once she saw that I was upset she started thinking I was upset because I thought she was pressuring me before I was ready, when in fact I was bothered because while I'm not literally not ready to propose tomorrow, it felt effectively like she was suggesting that I'm not ready for it when I had the ring in my pocket. Is it my fault? Maybe. I mean I didn't talk to her about how I was thinking lately, and I know I said talking was key, and really I usually talk a lot if not too much, but jeez I mean its supposed to be like a surprise isn't it??? especially at the still thinking about it stage. even if that thinking is serious.

Is that too traditional? Probably, well now she knows, she knows that I'm thinking about it, and god, what if I decided I want more time, am I on like some crazy serious timeline now? I mean I don't foresee anything, but aren't these thoughts that are supposed to remain private? Maybe I'm just crazy, cause this is really all good, right? Yeah, definitely.

The thing about kids, no I don't think Erica has gone baby crazy. I know women do sometimes and all, but really Erica is far too sensible for that. She just has a timeline, a very organized timeline. Erica is driven, and serious, she's not type-A although I'm a bit worried I'm giving that impression; she's honestly super fun too, but she has like soooo much more direction in her life than me. It's actually one of the things that works well with us, we compliment each other through our differences. Erica has an idea about kids, she also has an idea about marriage, both of those things however are mutually exclusive. They aren't on the same track, they are just two totally separate things, but both still significant. Erica isn't a super traditionalist, or overly religious, she calls herself a Heathen (jokingly). Considering our personalities it may be weird here, but I might actually honestly be more traditional than she is. Because for me these things, marriage, and kids are in fact on the same track. I don't necessarily know that i think marriage absolutely has to come before kids , but to me the two are pretty amazingly closely linked. The distance in terms of making the decision to get married, versus the decision to have kids once your married is a pittance. And if you're ready to make the commitment that is required to have kids, in my mind, you've already surpassed the commitment level where you could be married. Does that make sense? Marriage is a big move, as are kids, but I wouldn't want to make that kind of commitment that I think you should feel to have kids unless I'm already at that point where I've committed to someone for life. Argh, my words are starting to go in circles. Ok, enough of that, you probably get it by now.

So am I really ready? I don't know, probably yes, maybe I just need to have it roll around in my head for a bit. Erica has really never pressured me on time, but I know I've pressured myself a small bit. Is that bad? meh, I don't think so. I don't really think that even once I make this decision to get married I'd really be ready. I mean, is anyone really ready? ok, that was a lame rhetorical question, but you get my point. It's a big deal and ready is a relative term.

I'm out now. E, if you read this I guess you know it all. I tried to explain this all last night anyhow, just maybe easier, and/or maybe more complicated to hear me ramble about it in blog form. So that's about all for now.

Please let me know what you guys think in the comments.

Oh also, honestly, do you guys think you need to get a blessing from your partner's parents before asking someone to get married? Is that a bit too old fashioned? hmmm...

God, I'm kind of rediculous. Ok, well at least no one can fault me for not thinking about this. I have written proof now. later.

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