My ex got married over the weekend.
The news opened a gate of bottled feelings, but none of which actually included missing him or wishing it was me he had said I do to.
The feelings were more complex. A variety of questions and unresolved thoughts on what makes a person make the decision to marry another and what constitutes the institution of marriage itself.
Do soul mates really exist or is the idea of “the one” just setting us all up for failure? In a world of 7 billion people can there really be only one person for each of us?
Of course that when you think objectively on the subject of marriage and soul mates, the whole idea sounds quite childish. The idea of “just knowing” is just nothing more than our brain telling ourselves that we are ready to make the commitment.
It’s all about us and very little about the person we are with.
One may argue that it’s not about personal timing but about love and that love is irrational and therefore we can’t quantify the exact amount it takes for a man to pop the question.
But I beg to differ.
Even love can be analyzed and understood, as it’s only a feeling produced by our brains. Love is a reflection of ourselves. If we are happy with our lives we will radiate that happiness to the world and will attract back nothing but feelings of joy and love.
A man (or woman) can meet an amazing partner. Someone loving and funny and smart. Someone they can see themselves with for the rest of their lives. And they might love that person genuinely. But if they are not in a place in their lives to make the lifetime commitment of marriage, the qualities of their partner becomes irrelevant and even invisible.
On the other hand, if a person spends their entire life focusing on their career or just partying and find themselves alone at 40 and with the uncontrollable desire for long term company and family, he/she might marry the next person they happen to date. Not that the partner they chose is any less greater than the one they were deeply in love with a decade ago, but this new partner just happen to come by at a time when getting married is a an actual desire and goal, therefore making the decision a lot easier to make. The “I am too young” variable is no longer an issue, changing the entire equation of decisions, pros and cons.
I do however have to admit that my theory depends upon another important variable: love. Although in it, is not the deciding factor, it’s just a correlating one. Without it, timing does not matter as most of us agree that no person in their right mind would marry another without loving them, EVEN IF timing is right.
So the marriage equation is about love depending on timing. One can not survive without the other. Timing however, being the defining fixed variable and love the replaceable one.
But what happens with all the love we experience before the one who will be the last?
Love always expands itself, multiples itself, spreads itself contagiously; passing itself from person to person, continually growing in the world, even as we may seem to lose it.
What we may pursue as loss is nothing more than an expansion of ourselves. The person we leave behind (or leaves us behind) will go on to share with the next person a piece of us. As we break up we tend to take with us the best of our last partner, and to become the person we thought they wanted us to be, as a proving point.
My ex for example, benefited from my culture and cooking, which he took from me, it turned out, as a parting gift. He now cooks to his new woman the Brazilian recipes transferred to me from my grandma and taught to him while we were together. I, on the other hand, took from him the idea that I could never succeed and turned that into the fuel I needed to thrive.
Those “gifts” are nothing more than the love we once shared expanding itself through the world.
Not to say that we can’t feel sad if we lose love. We can. Out of all of these thoughts that crossed my mind over my ex’s marriage, the one thing that stuck the most was that it is okay to make bad choices.
It’s okay to lose at love. It’s okay to not get to “success” by the initial timeline in one’s head. It’s okay to redefine what life and love means, what success means and to create a new path.
Because in the end, unmade decisions are decisions in itself and it can propel us towards a better and unexpected outcome, or person.
If We hadn’t veered off the course We had traced for ourselves we wouldn’t meet certain people and we wouldn’t learn essential, life lessons.
We wouldn’t be us.
And what kind of marriage would work if one of the partners don’t know who they are and how much they want it?