One day in high school, my sister and I were having lunch with a few friends and all of us were talking about our parents. I remember us telling our friends about our parents' anniversary until I stopped and noticed that the majority of them had somewhat puzzled facial expressions.
"Your parents are still together?" one of them asked.
"Yeah... why wouldn't they be?" I laughed a little bit at the question.
My friend explained that he wasn't trying to come off rude, but he thought I was lucky because my parents were still married after 20 years. Then most of our other friends at the table also chimed in and explained that their parents weren't together anymore either.
That conversation opened my eyes to how oblivious I was to other people's living situations. At the time I just assumed most people's parents were still together but in reality anywhere between 42%-45% of marriages in America end in divorce.
And now I understand why. Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard.
I've considered myself a "relationship kind of girl" my whole life. Though I've only had three boyfriends in my life, each relationship lasted for at least a year. I'm usually one to commit when I'm truly want someone and I do hope to have the kind of marriage that my parents still have today, but there are still some things that concern me about marriage.
Continuously sharing my own personal space
I'm a meticulous person. I like having everything in its proper place, exactly the way I like it. Although I wouldn't exactly call myself a neat freak, I do like everything to be in a certain order so I can not only remember where everything is but it ultimately gives my room a better look visually. When I'm married it'll be different. I won't have that one room to myself to call the shots on how the set up is supposed to look. I'll have to take my husband's thoughts into consideration and I'm not too big on compromise in that aspect.
Letting ourselves go physically
It pains me to write this because I realize how shallow this is, but I can't help feeling concerned about this because I see it happen so much even with couples who aren't married or engaged yet. Even though compatibility and connection are two of the most important aspects of a relationship, I'd be lying if I said physical attraction wasn't almost as crucial. I know neither one of us are going to look like we're in our prime years forever, but I don't think there's any excuse not to at least try to look the best we can be no matter what age.
Even after I stop having kids I would hope that I'll do my best to get the baby weight off within a year and that's not only for the sake of my husband but for my own personal goals as well.
Dying while giving birth
I don't want to become another maternal mortality statistic. As a black woman especially, I know that my chances of dying during childbirth are three times higher. I used to just assume the reason for that was because of low socioeconomic status and access to resources on a broader scale, but even black women like Serena Williams and Beyoncé who are definitely rich enough to afford the best healthcare have discussed their complications during labor that put their lives at risk.
I only want to do this once
As I said before, I've had the privilege of living under one roof with both of my parents being together. I'm not naive and think that this automatically makes their marriage perfect, but I admire the fact that despite any imperfections, they work things out because they made a commitment to be together and they didn't take those vows lightly. I want to be like them. I want the first person I marry to be the only person I marry.
Obligation to stay
Although I want to avoid divorce as much as possible, what if it's clear between the two of us that the feelings aren't there anymore? What if we grow apart? What if our jobs move us in different directions? Even though I'm not keen on the idea of divorce, I also don't want to feel obligated to force it and be unhappy in my marriage rather than do the mature thing to admit that something isn't working out and probably never will again.
Increased poop anxiety
Last but not least, I have a legitimate issue about pooping when other people are around. If I know someone is within a 10 foot radius of me while I'm pooping, I will not poop. It doesn't help that I also have a fear of pooping in public restrooms so it's not like I could do that at work while I'm away from my husband. Also, I don't plan on living in a traditional house until I have kids so whatever loft in the city that my husband and I live in will definitely need to have two bathrooms even if there's only one bedroom.