The False Marriage PersonaMay 01, 2022
Article by Carl E Stevens Jr. | Progressive Insights
I have to admit, although I’m a little embarrassed to say so, I thought something magical would happen upon getting married.
I guess from one perspective it did. Kenya and I had a beautiful wedding, surrounded by friends and family. She looked incredible that day as she danced down the aisle to African drumming in the background. It really was beautiful. I would have teared up if it wasn’t for the fact that she had such a big smile on her face. Not only that, it felt great to finally be married in front of family. I felt like more of a man that day. In my mind, it was an official crossing over from boyhood to manhood. Good times indeed.
Was marriage the right decision for me? Yes! Do I have any regrets? No! I love being married. I love having a family with children even though it’s been a struggle in many regards.
Let me get back to my point though. When I say something magical, I mean, I thought I would lose some of my individual and self-focused proclivities and automatically shift into family, fatherhood, and husband mode. I really thought I would FEEL different and things would be easier once married, but that never happened other than being focused on being the best husband I could be.
I felt resentment for a long time about nothing shifting in me and a bit betrayed by all those who were married before me who never told me how much traditional marriage contradicts the desire for personal expression. It was some bullshit actually.
You have this big ceremony and everyone eats then goes home and I’m just left standing there – married with additional responsibility and pressure, but no real infusion of personal empowerment to help me. No “Wonder Twin powers activate” or “Shazam”.
It’s no surprise though, and I guess I was gently warned on my wedding day. I remember standing upfront during my wedding ceremony and looking into some of the men’s faces. I could tell they were happy for me, but there was also a look of, “Our prayers are with you brother.” Some of the looks were like, “It’s not too late to back out. I won’t fault you.”
What I realized later is, that marriage actually works better if you stay within your authentic self and allow personal expression and pursuits. My issue was I put ME on the back burner in favor of an ideal of what a husband looked like. No one told me to, I just assumed I was supposed to. The problem with burying the real YOU in favor of The False Marriage Persona is the real you is the real you and WILL come forth at some point, but by the time it does, it’s going to be really resentful. It’s going to come out with a chip on his shoulder like, “Fuck everyone else, I’m doing me for real, for real.” This is when we start to see extreme issues in the marriage. This is when you start to feel smothered or unappreciated or taken for granted or like you’ve wasted your years.
"Nothing you become will disappoint me; I have no preconception that I'd like to see you be or do. I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you. You can't disappoint me." ~ Mary Haskall
What I’m saying is that when you get married, things really shouldn’t change that drastically. Many couples nowadays are already living together so that’s not a change. You’ve already had sex, traveled together, met the parents and friends, and shared finances. Besides children, in some cases, what really changes?
Unfortunately, the only thing that really changes is forgetting about personal fulfillment outside of our partners. The only thing that changes is forgetting the YOU that attracted your partner in the first place – his or her dreams, aspirations, his swag, and mystery. That’s what.
I know it sounds cliché to suggest that people continue to pursue their individual lives in marriage, but it really is essential. Your spouse is your partner. They are more than someone to split chores and duties with. They’re not your sex slave or your insecurity blanket or your excuse not to pursue personal greatness. They aren’t the co-lead actor in your “I’s Married Now” stage play. They are here to support you in your personal journey and you in theirs. That’s it.
My advice is not to wait until late in your marriage to find out how important YOU and your personal journey really are. My advice is to find a partner who supports you in being yourself and one who doesn’t expect you to suppress the real you in favor of the The False Marriage Persona. Stage plays are for actors, real life is for real people.
Carl E Stevens Jr.
If you desire support in your relationship, uncovering the real you and leaving The False Marriage Personal behind, call a Progressive Love Coach!