A few months ago, I wrote a blog titled “Marriage, what’s the point?” This blog was molded and sculptured at the height of my cynicism about marriage.
The clay for the cynicism was easy to find. One too many friends rushing from exchanging vows at the altar to a judge’s bench pleading their cases for a divorce.
One too many female friends leaving husbands who fathered kids outside the marriage. One too many male relatives cheating horribly on their unsuspecting wives.
One too many married friends bitterly complaining about a lack of independence and a peace of mind. One too many married women coming my way soliciting affairs. The clay for my healthy cynicism was everywhere.
My visit to Hawaii changed my mind about marriage. Well, I should say I’ve arrived at a new perspective about marriage; one I wasn’t ready for nor expected.
I’ve traveled to dozens of places and countries alone and I’ve done just fine. My cynicism about marriage never leaves my side. While in Hawaii this week, however, I could not get my cynicism about marriage to fire up.
Hawaii is for lovers, a fact I realized the second I stepped off my flight in Honolulu.
There were honeymooners everywhere. Married couples celebrating their anniversaries were everywhere. Couples on their way to get married on the many picturesque destinations on the island were everywhere.
A perfect masala of marriages in various stages and in all its finery.
Ironically, this medley of marriage should have fueled my cynicism. Why then can’t my skepticism about marriage fire up in this place?
When I tell people I’ve spent 4 decades on this earth, happily single and not sure if I want to get married again or have more children, they respond one of two ways. Most of the time they smile in a patronizing way and tell me,
“You’ll definitely change your mind one day.”
Others take me seriously in which case, they warn,
“You’ll regret it when you get much older and there is no one around.”
So I felt a little sheepish every time a couple asked if I was on vacation alone. It’s embarrassing to give people a chance to ask, “What’s wrong?”
It’s more embarrassing when others have a chance to say; “I have a friend or a sister who will be perfect for you.”
Earlier this year, I met and started dating someone. Our relationship started out strong just like most do in the beginning.
We became friends for a few months, followed by a dating period, followed by intoxicating intimacy, followed by my doubts about the sustainability of the relationship.
I can recall very clearly a moment as we sat down to talk about breaking up. She looked at me sadly and said, “You really are 99% of what I’m looking for. I just can’t seem to figure out what’s missing. I can’t seem to figure what exactly you want.”
In her defense, the poor handling of my skepticism was enough for her to question if I was marriage-worthy. My inability to make a strong, final choice and stick with it was glaring.
So here I am in the middle of people who have made a strong and final choice, knew the consequences and had accepted it.
I know some of the couples I’ve met in Hawaii are not going to make it. However, I could not bring myself to go down that thought process.
How could I in the midst of dozens of couples who were out here celebrating 10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years of marriage?
I fear I’m letting down too many women by subjecting them to an extra smidge of condescending doubt. Worse, if I hear the word marriage too soon, I feel a pinch of condescension myself.
I’ve found the process of falling for someone new exhilarating. Then again, I’ve also found my independence and singleness to be exhilarating. In Hawaii, I have found myself morphing into someone I wouldn’t have recognized a few months ago.
My transformation is not starting with a sudden lust for marriage and a longing for domesticity. It began, weirdly enough, when my cynicism failed to be triggered in a sea of people who have made a commitment to matrimony.
I don’t mean to imply that marriage is bad due to my cynicism. As happy as I am for all these couples, I’m by nature a glass half empty type of person.
Like most writers, I’m given to bouts of anxiety and skepticism. I am introverted, impatient sometimes and easily undone by the burdens of societal norms.
For too long I’d imagined marriage as a suffocating never-ending fight over the remote, what to eat, skirmishes with the in-laws and relatives, fights over finances, endless outings with other couples and boring weekend family events.
Prior to Hawaii, I had three visions of my future. One involved finding a companion who shared my cynicism about marriage but still needed love in her life just like I did.
Another involved a dope bachelor pad in Los Angeles, a dog, a BMW and my Apple laptop. The last vision was one where I succumb to marital bliss, a few kids running around, PTA meetings, family dinners, a mini-van, weekend soccer practices and changing diapers.
One of those visions is already a daily reality for me but without the dog.
Hawaii has me thinking maybe we all need those rose-colored marital glasses all those honeymooners and couples celebrating anniversaries are wearing after all.
The new perspective I have on marriage has more to do with an acknowledgment of the courage those who have taken the leap of faith wield. Maybe courage is not the right word I’m looking for but its close enough.
Maybe, what I actually need for marital bliss is just a touch of ignorance, some gin and juice for liquid courage and more trips to Hawaii.
I guess it’s time to find someone to join me on my next trip to Hawaii.
By Kwadjo Panyin
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.