The first time I got married, the man in front of me promised me he would love me forever and that we would live “happily ever after” just like in the fairy-tales. To be honest, I think he meant it at that time. But it ended and we divorced.
So when I got engaged for the second time, I certainly did not want this to go wrong again! Who would want to be divorced not only once but twice?! Naturally, I asked my new fiancé THE question: “Will you love me FOREVER?” After a failed marriage I clearly needed reassurance so his answer was very important. I didn’t want to get divorced again. Nope, not again!
Therefore I certainly did not expect his answer: “I don’t know.”
I could not believe my ears... I mean, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. And this is what marriage is about: spend our lives together forever. Moreover, he knew it was a big deal for me to get married again. So how come he can’t promise it will be forever???! Then why did he even propose? I was hurt and angry at the same time.
One thing you need to know about my man is that he is indeed romantic but above all a scientist. As somebody with a good scientific brain, he replied back to my anger and incomprehension, in a very calm voice: “How can anyone predict the future? Maybe you will be the one doing something that will hurt our relationship. Maybe we will grow apart. Maybe we will be together forever, but I can’t promise you what the future will be because I don’t know. What I can promise you is that I will do my very best for this relationship to work because I love you.”
I am not going to lie, it took me a few days to process these words. I had never heard these words at any weddings or in any romantic movies (and I do watch a lot of them…).
However, the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense and to resonate with me. Before him, a man I had known for over 9 years told me the words I wanted to hear, the ones from the movies, and it did not prevent us from breaking apart. It actually might have taken a lot of courage for my man not to tell me what I wanted to hear, not to tell me something generic but to actually be honest with me and start a conversation on a sensitive but paramount topic. The more I think about it, the more I think this is the most powerful vow he could have made to me: to promise me to do his best to make our relationship work because he was aware it was not an easy thing to do. As we all know almost 50% of marriages end in a divorce. A relationship is about being vulnerable and making compromises. It does require effort. A long-lasting relationship depends not only on love but on a lot of effort and willingness on both parts.
So the day I got married, for the second time, I exchanged vows for the second time too. But this time was not about generic and empty promises. This time we promised each other that we would do our best to cherish our love, to make the continuous effort to keep getting to know each other and to make sure the other one is happy, because we were both aware that a relationship can end at any time if we did not “do the work”. And we acknowledged that we both wanted to do the work.
I don’t know if this relationship will be forever. Only time will tell. But I know that I have someone by my side who is honest, open to communicate on difficult topics and who is willing to make the effort to grow with me. I know it won’t be easy, but it will be real and we will enjoy every steps of the way because we don’t know the end. And isn’t it what life is about: being true to ourselves, enjoying the moment and putting in the effort to attract what we want?