Marriage-Minded, Not?

6 Mar

Letterbalm Question Mark RingDear LetterBalm: I’m 22 years old, and this has been a big year for me. I got engaged, moved a thousand miles from home, my fiancé and I bought a house, we both have excellent new jobs and we set a wedding date. So, why am I so miserable? I’m far away from my parents, my family, my friends and the part of the country I know well. Everything here is new and strange to me, and I miss my old life so much I have all I can do not to break down constantly. I’m trying to keep it together for the sake of my fiancé, who’s a wonderful guy and deserves a supportive, devoted partner. But he’s beginning to question my lack of enthusiasm, my misery and my frequent trips home (which only make me unhappy to leave). I’m torn because if I return home permanently, which I desperately want to do, I’ll lose the best man I’ve ever known. If I stay here, I’ll die of unhappiness.

–Wretched

Your misery comes through in every word.  But if you are preparing for marriage, you shouldn’t be in such extreme distress. Your fiancé is the person with whom you have chosen to make a new life. He has every right to expect maturity and loyalty from you, which doesn’t look like it at present. You need to make a real effort to acclimate yourself to your new life. This may sound simplistic, but you need to become a joiner. What are your interests? Find a couple of groups that cater to these. Take co-workers out for lunch or after work. Take a class. Explore your city, your neighborhood and meet your neighbors. Join a gym, a church group. Get out of yourself, find the loneliest person in the room, introduce yourself and listen. Be mindful that if you can’t do these things, you may not be ready for marriage. (Counseling may help.) If your wedding date is less than a year away, Ms. L.B. advises you to sit with your husband-to-be and ask for more time, while you take steps to wean yourself from your inordinate dependency on your old life. Be loving and kind and reassure him of your love. He’s going to be quite surprised, and you don’t want to spook him:

Ray, I need to explain why I’ve been so unenthusiastic and sad lately. Darling, it’s not about you at all – you’re the best man I’ve ever known, and I’m so happy you’ll be my husband. But all the changes in my life have happened so fast, I haven’t had a chance to deal with them. I’m missing my old life too much, and it’s interfering with my new life here with you. Can I ask something? Would you consider postponing our wedding for a year while I acclimate myself? I need to make friends, to get to know this part of the country, even our new neighborhood, so that I’ll be ready to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. I need time and, maybe, some counseling. I love you – you can be sure of that – but I need to find my place first. Can we agree to this together? If you have concerns about this, please tell me because I want to know and I want us to be honest with each other.

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2 Responses to “Marriage-Minded, Not?”

  1. JI 03/06/2015 at 3:31 pm #

    What a wonderful letter and to your credit Ms. LB – An astute response. I’ve just passed 60, made a big move in the last few years with my spouse, reinvented my career, bought a new house and moved to a new city after 35 years on the east coast. It’s been a trying experience. We all underestimate how change is painful for a reason: just like working out – muscles tear to repair and build up. I’m just now realizing the friends I’ve newly made over 3 years. Sometimes in this world we are all just too impatient with ourselves. Not unlike the desire for weight loss we look and expect overnight achievement. No such thing exists, slow and steady change makes for NEW solid and healthy foundations. I’m developing the mindset that everyone should be compelled to move every 10 years just to keep fresh. Part of apathy, comes with getting too comfortable with who we are, AND Underestimating our ability to grow. Thanks for your continued good advice.

    • Ms. L.B. 03/08/2015 at 8:29 pm #

      Ms. L.B. thanks you for a heartfelt and intelligent response to your own life experience. We all have difficult lessons to learn, and it sounds like you’ve taken yours to heart,

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