This post continues the story of my quest for love and marriage that I started last week. I recommend that you read last week’s post ( Wayback Wednesday- Mission To Marry (Part One) – Terri LaBonte- Reinventing Myself in Retirement ) first. In full disclosure, I wrote this essay 10 years ago, so specific facts (for instance, ages, shared life experiences, etc.) are no longer accurate.
The realization that it was okay if I ended a relationship because the man just was not the person I wanted did nothing to stop my search for love and marriage. I took a moment to remind myself that I wanted more than a husband. I also wanted happiness. Then, I decided to up my game. I attended an adult education class called “How To Meet The Right Person.” At the end of the class, I signed up for private lessons from the instructor. Imagine! I was plunking down $75 a week for private tutoring in the art of meeting people who might like the real me and I might be able to enjoy without twisting my personality into a pretzel.
My dating guru suggest some strategies and gave me some assignments. He even set me up on some “practice dates” with other clients. In one situation, he sat at a nearby table and gave us feedback about our presentation and dating skills. I almost expected one of those electronic score boards that you see in the Olympics. At any minute, I figured a blinking “2.1” would come up on the wall in the restaurant to tell the whole world how far away I was from a perfect “10”.) It was all incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. I was still experiencing all these situations as me trying to fix myself to be good enough for this man rather than realizing I was supposed to be deciding if this man was good enough for me.
Just as I was summoning courage to discontinue my private dating lessons and cut off the guru’s $75 per week, he made one last suggestion. He mentioned a singles dance he thought I might attend. The event was what I referred to as “the pudgy people’s dance.” It was sponsored by an organization that celebrated women with “more ample” figures. I was little skeptical and, to be honest, more than a little horrified that the “secret” that I am overweight was out of the bag. Still, I told myself, if I was going to pay this guy $75 a week, I should at least try to get my money’s worth.
The night of the dance, I entered the room tentatively. Within minutes, I was surrounded by gentlemen of all sizes, ethnicities, and ages asking me to dance. I relaxed. I had fun. I talked to people. I set down my worries about not being good enough, since this bunch seemed to think I was plenty good enough. I stopped trying to be the woman trying to attract a husband and started being one of the gang.
That night, I met a wonderful man. A man who, specifically, is wonderful for me. We both loved movies and had some of the same favorites. We both loved Las Vegas. We both enjoyed some of the same music. We both had similar religious values. We both were financially sound. We both had successful lives with career, family, and friends. We each had interests that we did not hold in common at the time, but that we could grow to enjoy together in the future. We were both wildly attracted to each other.
It has been almost 16 years since that night. We are still together. Between us, we have lost three parents since we met, weathered illnesses and surgery, gone through job changes, and shared the sorrow of saying good-by to my elderly welsh corgi. We work well together as a team and we play so joyfully that I cannot imagine how my world would keep moving should he not be in it. He moved into my tiny, one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo nine years ago. He has filled every inch of that small space with love.
No, I still do not have the husband for whom I worked so hard. I suppose you could say that my mission to marry has been a failure. Now and again, there are times- when I watch a wedding on TV, or a friend gets married, or I am feeling a bit “not lovable enough to marry”- when I still dream of a proposal and of a wedding. After all, if nothing else, there is something kinda ludicrous about calling a man your boyfriend when you are 52 years old and the “boy” in question is 60.
More often, though, I understand that my mission to marry didn’t really fail. Sometimes, on a mission, you do not accomplish what you wanted, but you do accomplish what you needed. I may not have the husband, but there is no doubt in my mind that I have the happiness.
What are your thoughts? Have you also experienced a “mission to marry?” Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a HAPPY day!
PS For those of you who want to receive automated email notifications every time I post new content, please read Bonus Blog from yesterday. I think I’ve figured out how to fix the glitch.