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The Whole Contract

No one gets to see the whole contract before they get married. Not a one of us. Signing up for a lifetime with another messy human is actually a guarantee of hardship—you just don't know which hardship.

That's not to say you shouldn't get married. It's just a choice you shouldn't make without doing a little research. Read as much of the contract as you can (meaning talk to your partner and observe their behavior for a good while). Ask other people who've signed the contract what it's been like for them. Examine your parents' contract and your partner's parents' contract. Talk about what you think is on the contract. Clarify with your partner that you're actually signing the same contract. (That's a big one). Ask your partner what they plan to do when you find one of those hidden pains.

But lastly you need to decide if you're actually ok with signing a contract that you know has some unrevealed hardships on it. Are you willing to take that risk? For a lot of us, whether we researched or not, took the risk and now we're here. In the pain. In the muck of learning how to love another human who is likely not very lovable at times. And we get the choice every day to keep the contract or break it.

You might find yourself saying, "Wow. I didn't sign up for this." That's ok. It's actually absolutely common. If you want this marriage, if you believe it's right, you're not a weirdo for continuing to try. But you're going to need some help to survive. Rally your supporting troops (Jesus, friends, therapists). Text your people who love both you and your partner. Ask for prayer. Cry out in your pain and work out the stress it is causing.

While it may feel like it, you don't have to be alone in your pain. People who love you will love you even if they don't agree with your choices. Your community can hold you up better than you can hold yourself up alone.

Unsplash: Tim Marshall

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