Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why Commit?

When marriage first came up between me and my boyfriend, I freaked out a little. I was loved my boyfriend, but thought we hadn't been together long enough to test-run the relationship. I practically lived with my boyfriend, but I thought I was too young to marry. I had always thought I would be one of those women who would focus on her career and marry after she was 30. After all, those women have more intelligent children (it's in the first book--take my word for it). Besides which, the subject had come up out of the blue.

So I dealt with my feelings of unease the way I deal with all of my problems. By reading a lot of books about the subject. These books helped me in different ways. No Cheating, No Dying made me realize that a relationship is still dynamic and fun after marriage. Committed's gem was this:

It's a crazy-cool story with aquamarine analogies and everything. There's also an anti-cheating hack (basically don't keep more secrets with someone else than with each other). However, the book never really elucidated to me why it made sense to be committed, especially if you're not going to have children. It did lay out the problem pretty neatly though: "The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice."

I decided to make the leap anyway. It's always an emotional choice anyway, no matter how you try to analyze and categorize it. I knew when I could not only think about marriage without anxiety, but with excitement. And this week a letter to The Atlantic explained it all:

Freedom in commitment is a beautiful, paradoxical idea. It reminded me of Barry Schartz's Paradox of Choice. Once we stop wanting to have it all, you can focus on how to cultivate what you have chosen. You can now imagine your life together--what your house will look like, how you will raise your kids. Also realize that you can still do a lot of the things you used to do as a single person or a childless couple when you're married with kids.

What about my children? Well, I'm assuming the fact that I considered getting married after 30 is indicative enough of my intelligence that I will be able to pass on those genes. What about my career? Well, after reading Penelope Trunk, I'm now worried that I'm not going to start having children soon enough.

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