A few months ago I took a trip to Italy. It’s a stunning country with incredible diversity, and every day was a new (and fantastic) experience.
While in Tuscany my group visited a few wineries, and we learned all about the wine making process. Tuscany is quite hilly, so the wineries generally grow a few different types of grapes. They do this because moisture naturally settles to the lower parts areas, and some grape varieties do better with different moisture levels.
We figured that moisture levels would be important, so we asked our guide which types of grapes were “the best” and what the optimal conditions were for growing them. His response (paraphrasing here) was:
Moisture levels are important, but we don’t want too much. The best quality grapes are actually those that have had to struggle somewhat. Grapes are like people in that way.
My trip to Italy was life changing for me; not just figuratively but also in a literal sense. Because on this trip I proposed to my girlfriend (now fiance)!
Since getting engaged a few people have asked me “why”. I’ve been married before (as has she). And statistics show that the divorce rates for second marriages are higher than the rates for first marriages. Statistically at least, the odds are against a second marriage being successful.
So why? Why get married again? Why not just date? Or just move in together and cohabitate?
To me it comes down to what marriage means (to me). What is it we actually want out of life, and out of a relationship? For both of us, we aren’t looking at our relationship as a temporary thing. We are looking at achieving that idea of “forever”. Of sharing our lives, and growing old together.
Do we *need* to get married for that?
We could definitely achieve that without the marriage. However I don’t see marriage as just a legal/contractual entity. To me it’s more than that – it’s a symbol of the commitment we are making both to each other. And that commitment is something we want to celebrate publicly, with close friends and family.
Will we make it? Will we succeed? I believe so. But there’s actually some beauty in not truly knowing the answer to that. And it makes me think back to the comment made at the winery.
Grapes are like people, in that the best quality is often shaped through adversity.
Well, we’ve both been through some of the ups and downs of life. We are old enough now that we not only have a pretty good idea of what we want out of a relationship and out of life; but more importantly we know who WE are. And we are better able to understand what a lifetime of commitment actually means.
I think one of the challenges in relationships that start when we are younger is, we don’t really know ourselves. So as we grow and change, that relationship that may have made sense for who we “were” no longer makes sense for who we have become. In an ideal world a couple is able to grow together. But that doesn’t always happen, especially when we meet when we are young.
That’s not to say we should ever stop growing and changing, because we should. However the ways and speed at which we change tends to slow down over time. And more importantly, we’re now conscious of the fact that we will continue to change over time. It’s on us to communicate how we are changing over time. To talk through problems. To be open and upfront about what we each need from each other.
We realize that communication will be the key to our success or failure; and that is at once liberating and terrifying.
Liberating because our success is totally up to us. It’s on us to choose each other every single day of our lives from here on out (even on the ones we might not particularly feel like it).
And it’s terrifying because…
well, it’s on us. And communication may seem simple on the surface. But sometimes it’s the hardest thing on the planet.
With a new phase of my life starting, I also have a lot of thoughts about a new phase to this blog. I plan on being back at it, and have the next 5-10 posts already loosely planned out.
I’m not sure who (if anyone) is still around. If so, hopefully you’ll continue to stick around for the next part of my journey. And for anyone stumbling across thezombieshuffle.com now, welcome aboard!!!