“Sometimes it’s better to travel in hope than to arrive.”
I came across the above phrase a few years ago when a former work colleague (Clive) was not wearing a wedding ring. He had made previous references to a woman called Janet that dated as far back as thirty years ago. So I always assumed Clive and Janet were married, and I made a light hearted comment about his motive to never wear a wedding ring being down to emphasizing his availability to other women. When he told me he had never been married, my immediate thought was that he was joking, but after a few seconds it was clear he was telling the truth. When I asked him how a man in his early fifties had managed to get away with this task, his only words were “sometimes it’s better to travel in hope than to arrive”.
As someone who has never been married, it would be easy for someone else, especially a married person, to accuse me of naturally being from the negative and cynical mindset towards marriage. All I can say against this argument is that I am not. Whilst I acknowledge as every day passes by I am less likely to being the one to experience that special day, I never say never in life, and still I still harbour thoughts of looking into the eyes of the one I love and repeating the vows of marriage. Although you never know how truly happy or unhappy a married couple are, I have seen friends appear in love when I thought it wouldn’t work, and those people who have split up when it seemed a match made in heaven. Like most aspects of attraction, there is no real logic to it all, but when I’ve had women heavily flirting with me only weeks after they placed the ring on their finger, you can’t help but wonder what the true motivations are for two people to become one surname.
Alongside the birth of children, marriage should be the biggest celebration in a lifetime, therefore it is only appropriate to start with the most positive, romantic and obvious reason to why a man and woman get married.
Whether it is childhood sweethearts or two people who have finally collided after years of unhappy endings in past relationships, when marriage is formed through genuine love as the primary source, then as an outsider looking in these couples were destined to be together for the remainder of time. Not only do they have the physical chemistry from the early days, but they also see each other as best friends. They share everything, they have a combined and mutual goal, neither is jealous of the other, trust is absolute, and they only have eyes for one another. Whilst this may seem like a devised love story in the modern age, it can still happen. The most probable types of couples that exist in this scenario are when they are of a similar physical attractiveness, social background and intelligence. They have had their days of going out regularly with friends, and a night in together is now worth a hundred of those nights out with their peers. Together and always, love conquers all.
Sometimes pressure from those outside of our own bubble can influence us to make decisions we are not comfortable with. This can happen in all walks of life. It is important to remember that our parents, or people as old or older, often have a mentality for aspects of life like marriage that dates back to when they were in their early twenties. There is nothing wrong with this, but those who do not understand how different people are today in terms of trust, attraction, temptations and options, are living in another world. A parent’s view of marriage can sometimes be one of having a daughter become an honest woman. Not always will they look beyond this day, or seek evidence below the surface to why it may not last.
The last one still standing
I have seen this situation first hand, and whilst it is more apparent with women, men are not immune from this fear as well.
Take someone in their late twenties or early thirties, and all of their close friends are now married. Although it is in light humour, every time they meet up with their friends there is the usual ridicule of being “left on the shelf”. For every time they hear this, they become a little more frustrated with their single life. So instead of relaxing, enjoying the positive parts of being single and believing the right person will come along one day in a natural sense, they panic, start to lower their standards and attain involvement with people from the opposite sex they have indifferent feelings with. Before you know it they have both convinced each other that they should get married, have children, and place two fingers up to those who once inflicted those negative comments towards singletons. Such is their common need for marriage and fear of being alone, it could possibly work. My concern is always one of not actually deeply knowing the person before they are your spouse.
The day of attention
I’m afraid women are usually the guilty party in this case. It’s isn’t so much that they are not happy, or even not in love, but it’s more a case here that this couple aren’t quite ready for marriage. Maybe they haven’t known each other long enough, or maybe deep down there are doubts they are right for each other. But they sail the sea in the blind faith they are destined for this big day.
Women love attention, as do some men. Attention is fine for the more mundane aspects of life, like acquiring the most glances from the eyes of the opposite sex or the occasional one night stand in hope of impressing others for external validation. But these parameters surely cannot border over to marriage, can they? So her shining moment is in front of all her friends, and she knows nothing on this wedding day can take the centre of attention away from her. It’s not dissimilar to how a young girl thinks when she becomes pregnant. She believes all her friends will be round her like a rash once the baby arrives, and for a few weeks this may be the case, but once the novelty wears off and life continues with the self-regulating format of one’s own importance, they will be gone and concentrating on their own agendas. The young woman is then left on her own holding the baby. In the case of marriage, it is the woman left with a wedding ring on her finger with only memories to maintain her ego.
When people get married in this manner, as subconscious as it may be, they are simply analyzing the enjoyment of a wedding day more than the marriage itself. “A dog is for life, not for Christmas” is a statement that comes to mind.
Usually this occurs when the man is your typical beta male, and he is with a woman more physically attractive than him. She has the power, he has fewer options, she knows he cannot do any better than her, and he is frightened to lose her. She desires to have her big day, and whilst she may have doubts he is the right one for her in the long term, people in this position rarely look beyond the wedding day itself. They simply believe everything else falls into place once married. It’s as if the rings placed on their finger charges a power from above, and all deficiencies in their relationships vanish, papering over the cracks of vulnerabilities they see in one another.
Although I do think women have a right to marriage after a certain time of being together, ultimatums, especially in the short term, are unfair ways to base a future on a relationship. No matter how unattractive a man may look, and no matter how beautiful she is, if a man cannot see through this then he deserves, to an extent, all the inevitable repercussions that will come his way. To put it another way, if she isn’t happy with being his girlfriend, she will be no happier in being his wife. Many men will go through the thought process of believing his girlfriend will leave him if he refuses to marry her. Unfortunately, when a woman loses her love, emotion, attraction and connection with a man, a ring on her finger or a marriage certificate will not act as a guarantee for her to try harder to make it work. Further to this, men do not lose women through not marrying them – they lose them for not being challenging enough for them.
Without trying to emphasize the phrase of “gold digger”, a motivation to a woman to become a wife can often be formed through her knowledge that no matter what, she will from then on be more financially secure. If the marriage works, she has money as a wife. If it doesn’t work out, she has more money as a divorcee than before she met him. Again, this has the physically attractive woman meets average looking man scenario written all over it. Pre-nuptials are available of course, but this type of man wouldn’t dare even mention the words in fear of her walking out the door.
It always makes me wonder how men in this situation actually think. If I was to say they are thinking with their illogical penis, then I may have more than likely answered my own question. He must see this as a possible outcome, but I guess he just lives for the moment. At the end of the day it won’t be the financial ruin that cripples his confidence, outlook on life or optimism for the future. It will be his broken heart pondering how to start all over again as a single man, as his ex-wife is venturing on without a genuine tear in her eye.
This is almost like an honest version of the above point. In the financial security position it is unlikely the couple will ever talk about possible eventualities of marriage or divorce. It is also even more unlikely they will ever mention anything about the differing motivators as to why they are together.
A mutual arrangement is when the couple put their cards on the table pre-marriage. When you see an English man in his seventies walking down the street with a Thai orientated women less than half his age, then this is a mutual arrangement. He has a younger trophy to show off, and she has a better life in financial terms than before. I respect couples of this kind, as whilst it isn’t seen as an organic way of people forming to be man and wife, at least they are living in the real world – to an extent.
Whilst some of these reasons may be projected as cynical views, the only reason I’m in a position to offer advice based on a wide range of experiences is due to a consequence of life. As a man who has been in different relationships because of the fact of never settling down, this manifests in producing a person who can demonstrate trends from opinions formed by nothing more than honest and objective history. There isn’t a day that passes by when I don’t think about how different, and possibly how more fulfilling, my life could have been had I settled down. Again, I reiterate that this is a consequence as opposed to a conscious choice of the past. Maybe it can be called destiny, but the motivation behind this book was fundamentally, and primarily, to help out all those great men in the world. As a knock on effect, this also brings long term happiness for the women within these relationships. People’s gut instincts are to disagree, but after a deep breath, a good night’s sleep, and an open mind from honest recollections, most people will agree with the reality that life and emotions bring.
Marriage should be a wonderful part of anyone’s life. Most of my closest friends are married and I’m genuinely happy for them. It may not be for everyone, but when it works it must seem magical. It must feel like life is all the worth living for. My issue with marriage has always been when it is done for the wrong reasons. Of course, nobody with two brain cells enters a marriage believing it will not work. It’s just that many people fall into it without genuine love being the priority and fundamental reason.