Throughout my almost 35 years of existence, my intuition has guided major life decisions.
For me, not taking a chance and wondering “what if” will cause more pain than trying my best and failing miserably.
Learning the hard way far outweighs the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.
And now, on the flip-side of our sailboat adventure falling through, I realized it took a drastic change in lifestyle to see beyond my five-year plan.
With my calendar suddenly cleared, and the familiar stripped away, I had no choice but to face the question:
Do my partner and I have a future?
We’ve pillow talked our wants in life, but it was time to be up-front about what we value most.
I had to rely on more than a gut feeling to guide me through this one.
I had to use my head, too.
So I was rational, took my emotions out of the situation, and looked at our relationship like a business decision.
I contemplated the nitty-gritty: marriage, home, work, kids – and determined what am I willing to compromise and what am I not.
Then a scary thought set in: I not only had to be ready for the answer, but I also had to be brave enough to walk away if we didn’t agree.
I knew that despite our loving relationship, my hopes for the future could not be sacrificed.
It was time to negotiate a deal or shake hands and go our separate ways.
It’s about 7:30 at night on a Tuesday, and I’m flipping through the radio as he drives the car down windy backroads toward his sister’s house.
We’re about five minutes away from family dinner and at this inconvenient moment, my nagging conscience said it was time to talk.
I sat back in the passenger seat, took a moment to center my thoughts, and let her rip.
“Babe, I need to ask you something.”
“Of course, Love. What is it?”
“Do you see us… married?”
He pauses for five seconds too long, then continues.
“I see us building a future together, but not marriage.”
“I see.” And I did. I was prepared for this.
“My parents are divorced, my grandparents were divorced, and I was pressured into marriage once. I guess I’m jaded.”
I swallow the giant lump in my throat.
Now it was my turn, to be honest with him and myself.
It’s not personal, it’s business.
And as much as I value our partnership, I can’t give up the possibility of marriage.
The traditionalist in me wouldn’t have it.
“Okay, I understand, and I’m sorry you feel that way,” I said, suddenly fearless.
“But I want to experience marriage one day. If I went through life and never married, I would feel I missed out.”
Then a funny thing happened.
The lump in my throat disappeared and I became at ease.
At that moment, my life shifted because I was upfront with my non-negotiable.
And it felt amazing. I knew because of that, everything would be okay.
We left the conversation in the car and had a nice dinner with his family.
But as soon as we buckled our seatbelts in the car to go home, he took my hand in his, looked me in the eyes and said,
“I love you and I don’t want to lose you. If marriage is what you want then I want it to.”