Will I Ever Marry?
by Nancy Strickster
May 31, 2019
I was thirty five years old and had never married, when my oldest sister invited me to come over for an “important talk.” When she sat me down on the couch and poured tea, I knew she was getting ready to state some truths that she felt needed to be said, but I had no idea what the subject matter was. She got right to the point.
“Nancy, I know you are dying to get married and be a mother, but you’re really not putting forth a great effort to achieve that goal. You want respect, but you accept disrespect. You want to be a wife, but you have grown into the label girlfriend. You’re “in love” right now, but whether or not he loves you does not seem to matter. You just want to be with him. I’ve watched you take up with men, who were at first dazzled by your beauty, until they discovered you lacked the confidence to back it up. I’ve seen your tears on nights when you were disappointed with yet another guy, but they dried up too fast and too soon.
“I remember once, you told me, in a proud manner, of a guy you were dating, and how he much he was devoted to you, but you allowed him to disappoint you time after time, until he finally broke it off.”
Tears flowed freely down my cheeks, as she leaned forward and put her hand on my shoulder. “Honey, it takes more effort to get the best out of life, and you’ve got to start taking up for your soul.”
My sister was right. I did want to marry, but I wasn’t sure if it could ever happen for me. It was a dream of mine that I thought about constantly, but I hadn’t held out for it. At the time of our talk, I had been involved with a guy for six years and though I wanted to get married and I talked about it often, he didn’t, and I accepted his position hoping it would change. He had been married before and he wore the stains from his divorce on his sleeve like a piece of armor. I stayed in the relationship because I didn’t want to be without him and I pretended to be satisfied, though deep down I was miserable.
We had many discussions about marriage and he always prided himself on his candidness about his disinterest. “One thing is for sure, I am not leading you on. You know how I feel and if you’re dissatisfied, you need to find someone who wants to get married.”
After those discussions, my confidence was always shot to dust, and my girlfriends were tired of hearing me cry about it. I felt like an old shoe that was being taken for granted, but I did nothing to change my circumstances. After that talk with my sister, I decided to make a change for the better.
Without hesitation, I changed my phone number at home and didn’t call to give it to him. However, it took him four days to discover I had changed it, I hadn’t even realized that I had been doing most of the calling. When he did find out, he called me at work and I refused his call. For three days, he called and left puzzled messages. Then he showed up at my door one night and I didn’t answer it.
The next morning, he cornered me at my car in the parking lot behind my apartment, and I knew I had finally touched the button to his heart. “What’s wrong with you,” he yelled, as I tried to get in my car and shut the door. “I thought I knew you, why are you acting so crazy.” Without speaking, I looked at him and glared. The expression on my face disoriented him and my silence added insult to injury.
“What’s wrong with you?!” In place of his usual calm, he was yelling with his deep voice rising to tenor tones.
“What have I done to you?!”
I moved to get into my car. I knew if I said anything, I might break down and lose my composure. I was ecstatic to see this unusual display of concern from him, but I held fast to the grim look on my face. I was determined to either change the relationship or forego it.
“Please talk to me, Nancy,” he said as I put my car in gear. What’s bugging you?…you know I love you, why are you acting like this? Is there someone else?”
I stifled a gleeful chuckle, as my heart soared through the roof of the car.
Now we’re getting somewhere, I thought to myself, as I held my foot on the brake. In the six years I’ve known him, he had never told me he loved me. “Okay, I’ll tell you, I shouted as I rolled down the window. I am starting a new life without you. I am finally going after what I want. As you said, we are different and we don’t want the same things. I am moving away from you in the best way I know how. Goodbye.”
I rolled the window up and drove off.
There was no point in waiting around for an answer. It was up to him now. I glanced at him in my rear view mirror and he was standing there in shock, but I felt good because I had finally taken a stand for my own heart.
For four weeks, I didn’t hear a word from him and I counted him as gone. Then he showed up at my mother’s house at our annual Thanksgiving dinner and handed me a beautiful engagement ring and a card without saying a word. The card read, “Okay, I give. I can’t stand being without you. You can set the date.” All my love…There was no knee bending or proposal spoken, but it was enough.