Before I continue detailing the specifics of my own courtship, proposal, engagement and upcoming marriage (and all of intricacies of this journey) I have to clarify my intent and philosophy.
First and foremost, I am not detailing my own journey with the intent of suggesting that my story is “right” and other stories are not. I do seek to normalize my own journey but not at the cost of devaluing another. For example, my own proposal was private, sweet and quiet. But in sharing that I am not suggesting that a wildly romantic and exciting proposal is wrong. Indeed, that sort of proposal is exactly what many couples want and becomes a keystone memory for them. No matter how things begin we all ultimately end in the same boat: relating to another person. In giving voice to my own process I am not suggesting it is the process. I certainly did not feel love at first sight with my fiance. But again, that isn’t to say that I would baulk at someone who did.
My borderline unromantic approach to relationships stems from my own personality and history. I tend to approach things very slowly, deliberately and logically. Also, my mom was married five times. I have a lot of fear and like many people, know first hand what failed relationships do to families. It makes sense, then, that for me I find solace in being deliberate. No doubt I will explore these impacts on my process in future posts.
I am slowly discovering that one of the secrets to my own happiness is to give myself the freedom to choose my own way. For me, the courtship is not very important. I’ve always been very focused on the more practical aspects of compatibility. And it is me who gets to choose what I brings me peace in hard times. I am the one who has to engage in the relationship that I have chosen. On anxious days I judge my relationship by the values of others instead of embracing my own style. I compare my own experiences with others and become derailed. External expectations and values (of what it means to be in love or what it takes to make a relationship work) create anxiety and yet those are not the values that I have built my choices upon in the first place. Those days are not good days.
So this disclaimer is for people like me. People who might judge themselves based on someone else journey. I wanted to say loud and clear: there isn’t a right way! There is your way. My only job is to figure out what works for me and then do it. I don’t have to figure out the secret of love for the world. My aim is not to devalue the path of another but to add another story to the relationship discourse.
Hopefully I write with an accepting tone in the first place. If I ever sound like I am advocating a path–it is for myself and for people to whom my approach resonates.