I was reading an article the other day about a woman who got married in her twenties and then got divorced in her thirties. She was saying that a couple years in she realized she was unhappy, but all her friends who got married the same time seemed happy so she stuck with it. Then when one couple in the friend group got divorced it was like a domino effect. A whole bunch of the group all got divorced within two years. That one couple who first divorced allowed the other couples to finally talk about how unhappy they were. Her conclusion at the end of the article was that she married the man she thought she should marry, not the man she needed. I thought that was a really interesting observation.
I know when I was single my friends and I would talk about “the list” we had of things we wanted in a potential partner. Each friend’s list was very specific—the person had to be this tall, have this color of eyes, have this certain physique. Most of our lists had at least ten items on them, mostly the physical attributes, or personality traits we knew we had to have to be happy. I can tell you a few things I remember that were on my list —the dude had to be over six foot two, had to have dark hair, preferably green eyes, and had to be a few years older than I was. There were other things on the list about a sense of humor and being smart, but really there was a specific “type” I was looking for when I was dating. I dated a few dudes that perfectly matched up with my list, but I never clicked with any of them. Then I met this guy who had blond hair, was both shorter and younger than I was. The more I was around him, the more I liked him. At some point, I threw my list out. I realized how stupid those lists we made were. How much we were limiting ourselves by sticking to a specific type that we had decided we wanted. How we weren’t allowing ourselves to get to know and date the person who was actually the best match for us, the person we actually needed.
On October 14th this year Todd and I will have been married for 24 years. I can count the happily married couples I know on my fingers. We are one of those couples. I seriously dig my husband just as much as I did when I first met him. I sometimes get people asking me what is the secret to being happily married for over twenty years? My advice –throw out the list and find the partner who you need. Someone who you adore. Someone who makes you a better person just by being with them. Someone you can hang out with, and do nothing with, and still have fun. Someone who makes you laugh and makes you think. Throw out that list! Date a lot of different types of people and keep dating until you find the one you can’t live without. Just my two cents.