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This Is What you Really Get When You Marry Someone

07/02/2015 12:41 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT
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I firmly believe that the world has a rather idealized outlook on marriage.

Keep in mind, this statement is not coming from a cynic. This is coming from a woman who loves the institution of marriage, for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. My parents have been married for forty years, so I have no reason to be against something that can work wonders. I only think that the rest of the world may not always be aware of the trade-off these wonders entail.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who spoke of this trade-off with earnest and apprised realism. "When we take those vows, it's not just in sickness and in health," he began. "It's in pimples, bloated stomachs, stretch marks, wrinkles, hereditary skin diseases, and hair that makes you look like you just walked out of a tornado." I listened to this with a smile because this man GOT it. In one brilliant sentence, he laid down the bare-bones reality of what happened in the years of marriage to his wife.

As I am a woman, I can only speak to the media of frenzy towards to feminine persuasion. In the click of a button, we are bombarded with hoards of ads and propaganda teaching you, the reader, about the ideal woman. She's beautiful in every light, every Instagram filter, with a carefree ease that makes it look like she just woke up like that. She eats clean, works hard, and is eternally encased in a svelt sarcophagus. Yes, this is the woman you marry. She is the eternal vision of loveliness that you've always desired, and the one that you always will. With her, there is no hard work. There is only the living fantasy.

But filters are only filters, and beauty is skin deep. There are a collection of unpleasant things that come with age, and oh, does the media love to portray women in the thick of them. I've heard of an unsettling number of men who have left their aging wives for a little fun with a hot young X Pro filtered angel. "My wife let herself go," he claims. "After so many years together, she felt like she didn't have to impress me anymore." (I've heard the same thing on the reverse spectrum, by the way, but I'll get to that later).

Here's the thing (and this is where the idealism rears its sexy head); when you get married, you sign up for that. If you agree to spend the rest of your life with a woman, there is more than a large chance that the same woman you kissed at the altar may at one point resemble a leather belt that's had too much sun. There's also a large chance that she will vomit in front of you as makeup runs down her face, looking like a sad, melted Picasso. The chances for grossness are endless, and in the span of "til death do you part," a hundred per cent likely.

Yes, that fragrant flower in virgin white lace might get a little fat one day, particularly if she's having your babies. Her skin might loosen, her boobs may sag, and at one point or another, she may not even be able to see it happening without her glasses. She's probably not going to have makeup on every day, and pyjamas might be acceptable grocery store attire. And as the years go by, she may care less and less about what you think of her.

And this is where the idealism happens. So many men have the look of their perfect bride in their mind's eye for all eternity, and when they see that eternity fade, they panic. As I alluded before, this doesn't just apply to the men. Women also get resentful when presented with the balding, beer-gutted, speckled and silver-haired gruff who makes Jack Nicholson circa 2011 look like Michael Fassbender circa now. She goes out and looks for a hotter model and completely forgets that the passage of time applies to marriage vows.

Idealism is darling, but might I be bold enough to propose that there is some beauty in reality? There's a wonderful feeling that comes from growing old together, losing hair together, losing teeth and getting gross together. You promised to love each other no matter what, so why the hell not fulfill that promise? When you stick with something, the rewards of your hard work can be worth the price of admission.

What's more than this, the real magic is that person sitting across from you losing their mind and their sex appeal will still have the ability to surprise you. You'll look at them one day and you'll get a smile that will remind you of the day you first met. You hold hands and it's just like it was on your wedding day. There may be times when spontaneity strikes and you're out on an adventure that makes you feel like kids again and in the span of that time, you realize how worth it was to say those two little words so many years ago. The good, the bad, and the ugly is why we are human. That's the real beauty in marriage.

The media likes us to think that the perfect body, both male and female, is what we want to hold forever, but I'd like to disagree. I'd like to watch time take its toll and hear the words "I love you" with the same sincerity that was spoken when I was once young and beautiful. There is something in this that means so much more than the superficial joy of having someone frozen in perfection. Love that lasts until the end of time, despite the outside shell, is more important to me than that.

Who knows? Maybe I'm the idealist after all. After this rant, I could very well be the one who's just way too optimistic about marriage. Regardless, I'd like to keep it that way. It's a lot more fun to find the best than to get wrapped up in the worst.

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