Incredible as it may seem, perhaps our narrowly constructed ideals and expectations make it that much harder to achieve our goals, or even fulfill our expectations.
However, since I did not ask anyone to get married (I was asked), it seems appropriate to interview the one who did ask. Likely, he can shed better light on the topic. So, without further adieu, my husband, Matthew Schnaars.
E: Do you believe in The One?
M: No, because The One is a fanciful idea that lacks any real grounding, and I don’t say this as a pessimist. The idea that there is only one person out there for me out of the billions of people alive makes it seem as if I am nothing more than a pawn of the universe or some great cosmic force, destined to one day collide with my significant other.
E: Why is this not pessimistic? Do you think this is a more practical viewpoint?
M: I don’t think it is a matter of practicality vs. idealism. I didn’t have to settle in love because the world didn’t deliver, nor did I have to give up my dreams because they were too unrealistic. Instead, it was a matter of realizing the unmovable truth. Love doesn’t happen upon you magically; you make love happen, and that’s a far better and more hopeful idea, so long as you aren’t afraid of the work.
E: What kind of work goes into love?
M: Love involves more giving of yourself than any other part of life. When you disagree with each other, you work towards a compromise, every time. When one of you hurts the other, you summon up a never-ending pool of patience and forgiveness. This is where the idea of The One is so problematic. When trouble rears its ugly head, most people who believe in The One start to think they didn’t find the right person. Truth be told, trouble will always show up, and the only way to move on is to grit your teeth and do what must be done. Make sacrifices, ask forgiveness, give forgiveness, work towards bettering yourself so it doesn’t happen again, and by the end of it all, you’ll find that your love is stronger than it was before.
E: Why should we assume that love will always have troubles? Why can’t love be separate from that?
M: Because love is not separate from life, and life will invariably trip you up many times. Your car will break down, your pet will pass away, you won’t get the position you wanted, dinner will burn, and your child will start screaming at very unfortunate times. They might not all happen at the same time, but they will happen. But when these events come to pass, you don’t start thinking “it wasn’t meant to be”. Instead, you work towards a solution. The same principle applies in love. Some problems are worse than others, but no one is completely free from them. Love is not separate from life.
E: Alright, last question: Why/what made you choose to marry someone who may not have been destined for you? In essence, if you don’t believe in The One, why did you get married?
M: Because I fell in love, and I was willing to make a commitment. I wanted you as my wife, and I was willing to do what it took for you to fall in love with me. Here’s the fun twist: when you believe in The One, and your expectations fall short due to the inevitable problems of life, you find yourself looking outside your relationship for others who might be The One, and you’ll spend the rest of your life looking for The One. When you don’t believe in The One, you learn that love comes when you work for it, and by working through all of the inevitable problems of life with your spouse, you grow closer, your love grows stronger, you find yourself looking even more at your spouse, and you eventually realize she’s The One, and she’s been with you the entire time.