Why It Will Take More Than Love to Convince Me to Get Married

I love everything about weddings. Whether they're big affairs, small gatherings, traditional ceremonies or unconventional parties, if anyone wants me to be a part of their big day, I do what I can to try to be there. For me, there's nothing more beautiful than watching people I admire and respect begin a new life with someone special, which is why it throws everyone off when I say that as much as I swoon at Inbal Dror gowns and leap at the chance to be a bridesmaid, I don't believe I'll ever get married myself.

While I won't say I'll never get married, I don't think it's in my future because as much as I enjoy the idea of love and committing to a partner, I don't believe that love alone is enough to sustain a union that brings families, careers, beliefs, and assets together. Not even close.

I haven't always felt this way.

I was never one of the little girls who created mock weddings with dolls or stuffed animals, but I did think that getting married was indeed in the cards for me. I was once engaged to someone I still consider to be one of the greatest loves I will ever have, someone I had been with since high school and who I was in a committed relationship with for nine years before everything crumbled. In the aftermath of a breakup that I'm still recovering from five years later, one so life-changing it resulted in me getting two tattoos, shaving one side of my head, and studying Buddhism, it became clear to me that we had a tremendous amount of love for one another, but love alone wasn't going to make a relationship, much less a marriage, successful.

More than a love for me, it will take my potential partner having an unyielding love for himself in order to convince me.

Having been so close to the altar that I still have my wedding dress and engagement ring, I've learned that it will take more than love to convince me to get married because we all have different ideas of what love truly means. As often as I can try to align my concept of love with a partner's, we'll never truly be on the same page at all times no matter how often we ask each other or read books like The Five Love Languages. Our concepts of love are created and molded from childhood and shaped our entire lives, and even when we think we truly have settled on our own unique definition of "love," it will constantly change as we change, and if we're not careful, it will become something that neither we nor our partner will recognize.

In medicine, we often hear that the best cure for an ailment is prevention, and the same can be said for issues that can occur in a marriage. For this reason, any man that wants to be in it for the long haul with me will have to be willing to go to couple's therapy early on so that it becomes a natural part of our dynamic. These tools are often utilized when it's too late, and for me to even consider becoming a wife, I would have to know my spouse understands the importance of preventative emotional care.

More than a love for me, it will take my potential partner having an unyielding love for himself in order to convince me to ever walk down the aisle. As someone who strives to practice self-awareness and works every day to achieve my own personal happiness, it's a red flag when someone says "I love him or her because they make me happy." If someone wants to commit to me because "I make him happy," that's a sign that he has not fully explored his own happiness. While flattering, someone relying on me as their happiness is a pressure that no person can bear in a marriage, and it's not sustainable in the long run.

It will take more than love for me to say "I Do" because I can't imagine marrying someone until I have witnessed and experienced my partner's full range of emotions, and vice versa. I've heard so many couples share that their favorite thing about a partner is that they don't get upset, and it takes everything within me not to say "They don't get upset . . . yet." One of the best aspects of the human experience is that we have a wide range of emotions and feelings to express, and I would never commit to someone without knowing how they handle very common feelings like stress and disappointment. Trying times reveal who we really are, so I would need my partner to know how I handle my own stressful situations so that he can say he commits to me "for better or worse" and truly mean it.

By simply being in love, many people feel empowered and like the best version of themselves, which is something that deserves to be celebrated, but if I do ever get to the altar, love won't be the only reason why I'm there.