My rules of engagement

Bryce Canyon, Utah, July 2018

In July of 2018, I got engaged. Six months earlier, this was not a possibility.

I wasn’t ready for marriage for a long time. But it was hard to articulate why not. I finally decided on three things that would make me ready.

  1. We must tell each other our deepest, darkest secrets. Have trust and openness through vulnerability. Trust is the bedrock of a good relationship. If you cannot tell your spouse your deepest secrets and thoughts, who can you tell? To truly become one, you must fuse all that you have: strengths and weaknesses. If we hold back, this could cause trust issues in the future.
  2. Earn independence from others around us, even family. We must operate on our own and choose to be us, wherever we go. We must be able to be a distinct unit. We must make our own decisions as full adults rather than relying too much on family ties. Often, an over-emphasis on outside forces rather than the relationship can sow discontent. Love for family comes from choice, not from obligation.
  3. Finances go into one shared bucket: not two, but one. What affects one of us affects both of us. We must be able to talk about money and value before getting married. That way, we get those ideas out in the open. Finances cause most of divorces, so why don’t we talk about these ideas first before we make that commitment.

In reality, we made the goals concrete by writing them down. Then we accomplished them together. She was especially excited to tackle tasks that were concrete. Before, we were floating along with no direction, not knowing if we were getting closer to commitment or further.

After accomplishing the tasks, I stood by my word. I could think of no other reason to delay marriage other than my own fear of the unknown and the change that would be required to adapt to it. But change can be good.

I did more than resolve the reasons why I did not want to get married. In fact, I learned reasons why I wanted to: gains beyond one person could ever achieve:

  • Self knowledge and self-improvement
  • Touched by the divine, following our ancestors’ path
  • Paying respects to our ancestors
  • Following in the ancestors’ path by tying ourselves to another
  • Love beyond passion: the love that stays when lust is gone

So, we jumped in. Here’s to one year and many more to come.