Did I Marry the Right Guy?
Linda: It’s natural and normal to have doubts from time to time, even strong ones, about the choice that is made of a marital partner. And it’s important to get to the bottom of the question about whether we are with the right person for us or not.
Consider the story of Tammy and Daniel.
Tammy: “The first year after we got married was the worst time for me. I was plagued with doubts. We had only known each other for seven months when Daniel proposed, and I accepted.
I was tormented by the idea that because of being 36 years old, that I had jumped at the chance to be married without really knowing the man that I was choosing to spend my life with.”
“I told no one of my doubts. Daniel is a good-looking guy, hardworking, and has always been kind and considerate of me. He tells me he loves me frequently and shows me in many ways. He’s a tender, generous lover.
And yet as the months passed by, I noticed that I was bored, and the doubts wouldn’t go. I compared Daniel to my fantasy man, my true soul mate in my mind, that was out there somewhere who would make me tingle with joy just being in his presence and with whom there would never be any doubts.”
“I felt as if I were going through the motions, fixing up the house, having friends over to dinner and visiting our respective families. I kept a secret diary where I was writing for my life, pouring out the emptiness that I felt, the disappointment I was going through due to my dashed expectations of blissful married life.
I gave myself permission to write in my journal my mean-spirited nasty judgments about Daniel being a big dumb giant, an uncultured oaf, and an uneducated unsophisticated ignoramus. I put on paper the ugly judgments I had about him being inferior to me. I let myself feel and say on that paper that he wasn’t good enough for me.”
“In my writings, I was able to observe with embarrassment, what a high and mighty snob I was. In time, I came to understand that I was afraid of commitment. I was waiting for my romantic fantasy to manifest of being swept off my feel by a thrilling “true love” and then I would make a commitment. It was my commitment to telling myself the truth in my journal that allowed me to see through my fantasy of the perfect man. Ultimately, I discovered that it was in making the commitment to Daniel that the true love began to show itself to me.”
Daniel had been happily loving Tammy all along. He hadn’t been holding back his commitment or love. He sensed that she was struggling to adapt to married life but didn’t press her to give him details about why he was always the one to say “I love you” first and kept herself in reserve. Daniel was patient and was finally rewarded when he saw evidence of Tammy moving past her fears of commitment.
Instead of holding back waiting for her fear to subside, Tammy risked jumping in. She realized that she didn’t have to have all the answers and that there was no perfection in the area of relationships. She didn’t have to keep her heart safely removed to protect herself from being hurt by Daniel. Then she was able to risk committing to the partnership. Tammy came to understand that she had strengths Daniel did not have and that Daniel had strengths that she did not have.
One of his strengths that Tammy learned from him was to love fully without holding back. Her rigid protection began to fall away. Tammy became the one to initiate lovemaking and show up for their interchange in a meaningful way.
She began to say “I love you” first. When I saw her last, Tammy said, “Back then, Daniel’s heart was big and brave, and my heart was small and weak. But I’ve learned a lot from him and now my heart has grown to be big and brave like his.
And for that, I am so deeply grateful.”