By: Aspen Jordan – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
There’s a scene in the cult comedy So I Married an Axe Murderer where the commitment-phobic main character Charlie (a young Mike Meyers) and his love interest are walking in the San Francisco rain. As they stroll home in each other’s arms, she looks at him and says, “you’re never going to leave me, are you? I feel like I could be here forever.” That final word – forever – echoes into silence as the camera cuts to a tight shot of Charlie’s face. He’s absolutely shitting himself.
I also shit myself a little when I hear the word “forever.”
But my involuntary bowel movements don’t have the same root cause as Charlie’s. I’m not afraid of commitment (to men. Bangs and jobs are a different story). Two months after I met my now-fiancé I started researching what wood works best for building matching rocking chairs. (It’s cherry if you were curious).
Nor is it because I fear that our marriage won’t last – my jokes about training him for his second wife really are just extremely funny jokes.
Tbh, the reason the word forever makes me nauseous is that I don’t really buy it. My fiancé and I both come from modern families. That’s a polite way of saying that divorce, death, and estrangement have left their grubby handprints all over us. We both have a weird number of parents both dead and alive, step-siblings, half-siblings, and core family members who aren’t remotely related to us (waddup Yoshiko!). We’ve seen how the course of life can change the DNA of a family unit, and we both accept that. It’s a major reason we have such similar values.
I love my husband-to-be and I could happily spend 23 hours a day with him. I can’t imagine committing my life and love to anyone else. But here’s the thing: I could change. He could die. He could meet Kendall Jenner tomorrow and leave me. We could experience a life-altering event that changes the way we see each other and the world. These are things over which I have no control, and they are realities of life that we all must embrace. Those realities don’t necessarily mean that a marriage (or any relationship, for that matter) won’t last. What they do mean is that it might not.
Deep in my heart, I believe that if I refuse to consider the finiteness of everything, I’ll be that much more broken when everything ends. Because everything does end. I will commit all that I have to this man, and he will do the same for me. I truly believe that. But – huge downer warning – best case scenario is that, after 60+ years of wedded bliss, one of us holds the other’s hand as he or she passes away quietly of old age. Let me rephrase that: if all goes well, one of us is going to be left deeply, profoundly alone.
So, you see, forever isn’t really an option.
But to me, there is profound beauty in recognizing this finiteness.
Please note: I said “recognizing,” not “obsessing over.”
Whenever I have the chance to take a quiet moment with my partner and just appreciate him – the curve of his shoulder, the color of his eyes, the utter satisfaction of his belly laugh – I take it. I take it knowing that it could never come again, and my only choice is to drink it in right fucking now. In that little moment, there’s no pressure to make us last, no worries about money or jobs or apartments, no forever. There is just him and me and this. And then he does something annoying and it’s gone, and boy am I glad I stood in the glorious present when I had the chance.
Also, finally, forever implies that I’ll still be married to my partner after I die, and Idk about you, but I’m taking that “til death do you part” line seriously. If The Rock and I meet in the afterlife, I’m not married anymore.
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Aspen Jordan is a Seattle native living in New York by way of Buenos Aires, Chicago, London, and San Francisco. I’m passionate about mental health, self care, and social justice, and I’m currently working towards a career in wellness & love coaching.
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