Have you noticed how things that sounded like bad ideas before having kids sound like really good ones now? Things like, say, arranged marriages. Back when I was dating, I shuddered at the thought of marrying someone who had been picked for me by my parents. I mean, what if I couldn't stand the person? What if he had a terrible laugh or was really boring or picked his teeth with his fork? What if he had a weird smell or was obsessed with Star Trek? The possibilities for disaster seemed endless and the potential for happiness slim.
Then I had kids.
And I started thinking about my beans going out in the world in another 20 (or maybe 30) years and starting the process of choosing a mate. Someone with whom to spend the rest of their lives. What if I didn’t like this person? What if this person didn’t like me? What if this person didn’t treat my child well? What if, what if, what if? I’d like to say that I can see myself being supportive of a child’s choice in mate even if it wasn’t a choice I would make. Even if I had doubts or reservations. I’d like to say that, but it would be a LIE! Because if one of my beans brings home someone who sets off warning bells inside my head, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to say something. Because I know things. Lots of things J
This is why the thought of arranged marriages has its appeal from this side of the room. The parent side. The side that knows plenty of lovely families with whom we share values and traditions. The side where I will watch these other children grow and be able to determine who has the best chance of turning into a high quality man or woman worthy of (or close to being worthy of) one of my precious beans.
Yeah, there’s always a but. In this case, the but is that the beans probably won’t agree to such a plan. And in my saner moments, I understand why. It really is kind of important to have some input into choosing one’s life mate. I understand that. So, in lieu of doing the choosing for them, I’ll simply offer some advice. Probably a lot of advice if I’m being honest. But all of the advice I’ll offer on the subject of choosing a spouse could be boiled down into one nugget of wisdom.
Ask yourself, "Who do you want next to you in the foxhole?"
Choosing a spouse means making a commitment to be a partner in marriage with someone for the rest of your life. It means choosing someone with whom you’ll face life’s ups and downs, its challenges and triumphs, the days filled with fun and excitement as well as those filled with sleepless nights and sick kids.
I’ll tell them that yes, it’s very important to marry someone with whom you’ve fallen in love, but you have to make sure you’ll also be able to stay in love. That when the first blush of newness is gone and there are bills to pay and lawns to mow and bathrooms to clean, the person next to you is the person who you always want to be next to you.
It’s my hope and prayer that my beans will see an example to follow when they look at the marriage of their parents. My hubby often says that he chose well – he chose the right person to be with him in the foxhole. And I say it in return. We’ve got each other’s backs. Always. And when there’s fun stuff to do, we do it together with joy and laughter. And when there’s tough stuff to do, we do that together, too. And somehow we always manage to find some joy and laughter in those moments
So when the time comes, choose wisely and well, my three sweet beans. Choose someone who loves and cherishes you and who will stand beside you and be your partner in the truest sense.
Because if you don’t, Mommy might choose for you J