Decision-Making and Marriage

Oh, decisions. Funny things, those. We make decisions every day - left or right, pass this car or not, coffee or tea (well, if you're me). But I don't think many of us think of these as true decisions. The Big Decisions are the ones we stop and think about, often for a long time, debating the pros and cons if you're a researcher, or just going with your gut after a brief period of thought. That gut decision? Is the one I made about my now-fiance, a good seven years ago. And then the debating decision? Is the one I made about marrying him - a year ago.

But it's not how it sounds, no. When I met A I knew there was something different about him. He was quiet and reserved, but kind. I've said it many times, but I knew I liked him when I found that I was unable to look directly at his face while talking to him. I knew I loved him when he respected my boundaries. And seven years ago, I knew that one day I wanted to marry him - a snap decision made one night when he kissed my bloated, recovering-from-anorexia belly and talked about how one day he could see kissing my belly when there was a baby of ours. That decision was reaffirmed not three hours later that night, when I woke up in excruciating pain from an ear infection and he remained calm as I panicked and whined about my ear being repeatedly stabbed from the inside.

The decision that I wanted to marry him one day was one that may have seemed light, but wasn't. We spent our first six months together an hour apart, seeing each other only on the weekends, and a few times for dinner during the week. Long phone conversations and chats on AIM (remember AIM?) were how we kept in touch, and it was work - not hard work, but work - to maintain that relationship. One that both of us didn't think would last because of the distance, but surprised us by growing in intensity. Our relationship was work when we moved in together a year after starting to date, a mere three hours away from our families. It was work when we decided, upon moving into our second apartment, to paint the whole thing before moving in (and the yellow paint took a week to come out of my hair).

But our decision to stay together, for the long run, wasn't hard work, it was and is fun work. Yes, we have our hard times, our arguments, our conversations that last long after we both should be sleeping, but always, we are enjoying our time together. A year ago in February, a friend of ours got engaged, and I realized my biological clock was screaming at me. I wanted a baby - not right away, but in the near future. I wanted to be married before I had a baby. A month to the day after she announced her engagement, we announced ours, after being secretly engaged for a week. Neither one of us proposed, and random number generator was involved for a while as we worked to set a wedding date that made sense to the both of us.

Months after we got engaged, as we were debating about a (second) venue, I asked A when he realized he wanted to marry me. I told him I knew on that night, but I really knew after we'd lived together a year and been together two. He told me he knew after we'd been together three years and lived together for two years. We decided just a few months shy of our sixth anniversary to get engaged - our pre-engaged period was a long one. At one point in time his mother introduced us as "A and his wife..." and we all laughed at the slip, but most of our friends already considerd us married, even though we didn't have the paperwork to state that we were legally.

Our decision to get married this year, having our wedding four days after our seventh anniversary, was a mutual one. It was one of the biggest decisions we have made together, second only to buying our house at the end of 2011. Now, three months out from our wedding, we are both giddy with excitement at what is going to come after our decision is finalized, the paperwork signed, and when we are legally joined together as one in marriage. This decision is one that will result in several changes, all of which require other decisions to be made, such as changing my last name. It's also a very final decision, at least to me - one without limbo, but with challenges in the years to come. As with many decisions, that is something that I am okay with - because this is a decision I am willing, ready, and able to work for.