"Marriage is not about age; it's about finding the right person."
Oh, so correct.
I have finally come to understand that it's all about "the pick," whether it's marriage or any other long-term relationship. Once you have thought about who YOU are and what you want in a partner, the search is on. But it's critical to have that dialogue with yourself first.
This is where I always made my fatal errors, at least fatal to the longevity of my relationships. (Heck, if you add them all together, I have a great track record!) I am seduced by the fancy trappings of courtship, by the attention..... by the "sell." I should have been more thoughtful about what happens after the shiny gloss fades, who I wanted to stand next to me when the world hands out an unexpected hardship, a job loss, errant children, all of the chaos that slithers under the front door just when we think we have it all.
I realize now that I had no explicit instruction on how to do this. The sad part is that now that I have learned it, the window of opportunity for me to build a long-term, steadfast relationship with a partner has slammed shut. Hard enough to break the casement in the process. That time can never be swept back up in the dustpan to be used again. Never.
And that IS sad.
I won't ever know the joy of sitting shoulder to shoulder on the couch to look at pictures (yes, real glossy photographs pasted in a scrapbook) of our wedding day or our first car, first pet, first child, first grandchild.
I haven't built a history with someone who stood by me when that health scare struck (the one when I drove myself to the hospital for the biopsy). There is no shared frame of reference for not making the same mistakes with one child that we made with the first one. When one of us loses the ability for physical intimacy, the option of walking away isn't an option at all. The " pick" laid the foundation. And then it's about making the commitment more than words.
I know two young women who are currently planning their weddings. I wish someone had told me all of this when I was 22, fresh out of college and about to marry. For the first time.
If someone had, maybe I would be getting ready to celebrate my 43rd anniversary.
Instead, I'm back at "the pick."