Editor's note: This post by Tyler McKenzie originally appeared on his blog, Cross-Shaped Stuff. It has been shared here with the author's permission. Find McKenzie on Facebook or on Twitter via the handle @wtmckenzie.
Today my wife Lindsay and I celebrate our two-year anniversary. Two years ago, we tied the knot and took the plunge. Two years ago, the cutest girl in Indiana was taken off the market! Two years ago, we launched the beginning of the rest of our lives. Two years ago ...
And after two years, there's no hiding behind the dinner-and-a-movie facade of dating life any longer. I can't buy enough flowers to conceal it. I can't open enough doors. I can't say enough "I love you's." She knows (and painfully, so do I) that she married the wrong person.
Allow me to humbly explain (before she reads this). For quite some time now, there has been a myth floating around our idealistic individualistic society. A myth that claims that marriage will only work when you find your "smoking-hot, high-class, filthy rich, love-at-first-sight, sexually compatible, accept-me-as-I-am, Titanic-Notebook-Sweet-Home-Alabama-Twilight-esque, soul mate."
Don't believe me? Look at the message Hollywood communicates; look at the empirical evidence pointing to later and fewer marriages; research studies suggest this is a primary factor that holds men and women back from marital commitment — they just haven't found their soul mate. They believe in their heart of hearts that their match-made-in-heaven is still out there, somewhere.
Much could be said about where this mindset came from, but let's just leave it at this: Singles today (and most married couples too) are searching for super-spouses that simply don't exist. People expect far too much from their spouse in all the wrong areas.
That's why I know beyond doubt, at least by society's standards, that Lindsay married the wrong person. I'll never be quite as smart as a New York Times best-seller. I'll never make a six-digit paycheck. I'll never electrify the bedroom in the way our pornographic media culture broadcasts as the norm. I'll never understand her quite as well as we both wish I would. I'll continue to make mistakes. I'll get angry over silly stuff. I'll forget to do the dishes. I'll raise my voice when I shouldn't. I'll let pride get the best of me. And I'll probably think of myself far more often than I should ... Oh yeah, and my younger days as a part-time body-builder, part-time male-model, full-time Matthew McConaughey stunt double are over. I retired this January. (Are you drowning in my self-pity yet? I am.) Look, I'm not an astrophysicist. I'm not a movie star. I'm not a billionaire. I'm just Tyler. And Tyler does not meet the standards of the "Real Housewives of Louisville."
So what then is the solution? What do you do when you find yourself in a relationship with the "wrong person"? Well here are a few things you could try:
(1) Every time your significant other falls short, find another. On to the next one. Then when they fall short, and they will, do it again. And again. And then again. Forgiveness is futile. Reconciliation, pointless. If they were your soul mate they'd never make those kind of mistakes. If they really loved you, they would've thought before they acted. Of course, there will be significant emotional baggage to carry with each new sexual partner. Or there will be financial fallout from dividing your wealth over and over. Or your kids may grow up with a distorted view of parenting or marriage. But sooner or later you're bound to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, right? And they'll be perfect, right?
(2) Try it before you buy it. Test drive it. See if the chemistry is there and the sparks fly. Cohabitate. Allow someone into your life at the highest degree of vulnerability, and give them this priceless delicate gift without asking them to commit to you past tomorrow morning. Maybe in the process you'll find your soul mate. Let's just hope they agree.
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