The Perpetual What Ifs
From the outside looking in, here’s what you see;
Your friends just got engaged…they are flashing the rock, getting handshakes and hugs, toasting to the future. It’s all smiles and tears of joy. Then there’s a downtime, followed by a steady stream of wedding plans that you honestly get tired of talking about and even hearing about. (Don’t lie…we know) That’s followed by invitations to be in the bridal party or a groomsman, maybe the Maid of Honor or Best Man. Some time later the invitations go out…and it’s “save the date” and all that noise.
Through all of this, it’s smiles and laughter.
Occasionally, one of your friends will want to know if you’re SURE…are the ANY doubts? Even a little?
Here’s the straight dope on that happy couple as they exist in the time between proposal and wedding…
OF COURSE THERE’S DOUBT!!! When you buy a car and you sign on that dotted line, you are doubting. Even if it’s the perfect car for you and you KNOW you can afford it…WHAT IF?
Your mortgage closing? You sweat. Even though this house is everything that you had on your list of requirements, the mortgage is less than you’ve been paying in rent, and it doesn’t need any work…WHAT IF?
Getting married is a bigger contract than either of those, and it’s forever OR until a soul crushing divorce. (And it ruins your credit, just like forfeiting on that loan) ANYONE who is engaged and tells you that they don’t have doubts/fears is either (1) lying to your face or (2) not thinking about this nearly enough. (Or, to be fair, has been living with someone for like, 10 years…and even they will have moments when they wonder)
When Fiance comes home for her class at 10:30 or so, and is exhausted and cranky and complaining about how tired she is…BUT will stay up watching bad TV for another few hours before crashing…only to complain again the next morning that she’s exhausted…
Or when we have a bad weekend, and just can’t get on the same page and annoy the crap out of each other…?
Or when you hit a sexy time dry spell and can’t connect for the life of you because of schedules, stress, exhaustion or whatever…?
You don’t think I wonder? Hell yes I do. I’m engaged, I’m not sedated. You wonder and you doubt and all sorts of things cross your mind. My brother described it as the “Perpetual What If”.
Just because you’ve slipped that ring on her finger doesn’t mean that you’ve become the Cardinal of Faith, and that you believe SO DEEPLY and SO FERVENTLY in your love that doubt dissipates like pot smoke in a convertible.
It does NOT.
So, there you are…sweaty palms, looking at the ceiling in your bed. Wishing you still smoked and that you didn’t have to work tomorrow. What do you do? Keep your mouth shut and hope it passes? VERY quietly pack your essentials, grab your guitar, and make a break for it in the dead of the night? Pick a fight and hope she leaves you?
You could. Broken engagements are a dime a dozen. Don’t think so? Bring up the return policy at a jeweler and see how readily they can recite it. You could go right back to that barstool for the playoffs and your seats at the Nats, wondering who the next tanned and toned future ex girlfriend will be.
Or, you can swallow that “OHGODOHGODOHGODWHATHAVEIDONEHOWDOIGETOUTOFHERE” and say the following;
Baby, I’m scared to death.
Chances are that she’s going to say;
You and me both.
Then this amazing thing is going to happen…you’re going to start talking. (Imagine that) And you’re going to find out that you’re both afraid of the same damned thing. You figure out that really, it’s the monster in the closet, which is to say it’s nothing.
And you laugh a little.
And you talk about the things you want to get better at, and the things that you are thankful that you don’t have to deal with because you found each other.
Suddenly, like pot smoke in a convertible, the Perpetual What Ifs go away. You make dinner and you wonder why people watch Grey’s Anatomy, b/c you liked it better when it was called ER 10 years ago…
…and you laugh that 10 years ago, she couldn’t drive a car…
…and she sings the Jem theme song as the yeah-you’re-old-inside-joke-that-never-fails-to-make-you both-laugh…
And by the time you’re clearing away the dinner dishes, you’re so much more focused on all of the reasons that you are engaged that you can’t remember why you’d ever want to not be.