To marry or not to marry?

To marry or not to marry?

…is that even a question?

There was a time in my life, before meeting Cheyanne, that I whole heartedly would have said: “No, that’s not even a question.”

Meaning the answer is obviously a NO. Marriage was not necessary to me.

But now, two years later, I still whole heartedly say: “Not even a question.”

The only difference is, that the former answer was “no”, and the last answer was “yes”.

So what changed?

Follow along as I’ll explain this shift in answers.

If you would’ve told me on the first day of meeting Cheyanne that we would’ve been married three months later, I would’ve called you nuts.

And yet, as we were long-distance dating and getting to know each other through facetime, it actually didn’t take long before the M-word got mentioned.
In looking back, we both thank Chey’s cousin for getting that conversation started. But back then, without any doubt in my mind, my answer was: “Are yOu cRaZY?!?!”

Growing up in Belgium, Europe, in what’s supposed to be a ‘catholic’ country, I feel that the idea of a God had been abandoned a long time ago. The holy institution of the Church was in gossip media more often than the Kardashians. In this part of the world, when someone would say the M-word, it’s hard not to think of the Church.

At the same time, Belgium is among the countries with the highest divorce rate in the world, so I, like so many of my generation, grew up with the idea of “Marriage” being just a useless piece of paper.
I think, by now, the law has made it superfluous too, in a lot of European countries.

In Belgium, the new normal is to first buy a house, then have kids, and if the couple would still be together in ten or twenty years THEN they’d get married.

Things have a totally different flow in the USA, where Chey is from: first you make the commitment to your now spouse, before buying a house and getting kids. Girls grow up thinking about what their new last name would be, something that’s not done in Europe.

So over the three month period when Chey and I were dating across oceans, something in me changed. Drastically. Although all along I knew deep inside that this person was very special.

Since we only had facetime, I believe we had a different way of connecting than was the case in the pre CoVid-era, since all we could do was … talk. Even though we were thousands of miles apart and we didn’t spend a lot of time in each other’s physical presence, we grew super close, super fast.

And so yeah: the M-bomb got dropped.

After indulging myself in this preposterous idea of getting married, Chey then introduced the concept of premarital counseling to me. I had never heard of such a thing. Yet, having undergone it and benefiting from it on a daily basis, I’d strongly suggest you would do so before getting married.

This way we got to have the hard conversations first, got to dig and poke around in the not-so-wonderful sides of one another, so that we could see how we would come together even in the rough convos. We got to get to know each other in ways that we never would, had we just kept on dating. We got to lay a solid foundation on which all our future endeavors could build upon. And we got a lot more out of it too. I will always remain grateful to Armando…

And because a strong and healthy marriage is essential in a happy family, it also is the foundation of our program.

Being happily married for over two years now, I have to admit that I wouldn’t want it any other way than being married.

First of all I feel it’s beneficial to Chey and I.

In the past I was in a long term relationship with Billie’s mom without ever being married, and when I look back at how that felt and compare it with being married now, I’d prefer this feeling a thousand times over. Being un-married (I feel) you’re basically in the relationship with only one foot; in a marriage, you’re in completely with both feet and all. In the past there was always this “possibility that it could go wrong”, and now I feel that I approach issues differently.

It’s not JUST about this one issue anymore, it’s about the next one thousand issues, for it’s part of life. Of course the main objective is not to have a thousand discussions. My main objective is loving my wife more after having had the thousand arguments, than before, and her loving me more deeply. To me this is a revelation and such a relief. It also gives me a more peaceful feeling.

I’m also very glad for my daughter that I got a second shot at it.

When Billie’s mom and I decided to break up, she was only three. I remember thinking: “That I feel miserable 24/7 is something I could live with”, however absurd the thought seems to me now. But when I noticed that Billie was physically showing signs of distress, I knew something had to give. I knew that when that sweet little innocent angel would grow up between two fighting parents, she would develop a perception of love and relationships that would negatively impact our family for generations to come.
Therefore I am very glad that now I can show her what love and marriage should be all about: love & respect, so that we can all thrive together.

There’s another reason why we dive deeper in building a strong and healthy marriage in our program FIRST.

In scientific literature, we discovered that kids take the “relationship” with the new partner more serious when the parents officially get married. For the kids, this act of commitment brings peace and certainty, knowing that “they’re here to stay”, kind of a thing.

Besides the kids, the ex-es too take “your new girl or boyfriend” and the relationship more serious. They too know that “the new one” is in it for the long run and it’s not just a fling.

In closing, if you were to ask me whether “to marry or not to marry”, I’d say YES with all of my heart and soul. But only to you, Chey.

*  A big shout out goes to Armando, for without his help we might not have been so happily married.

(If you too are considering whether to marry or not, click the link below to get some of Armando’s favorite questions that you and your spouse-to-be can talk through and gain a deeper connection.)

https://mailchi.mp/8aee4690ae26/top-questions-for-engaged-couple

Talk soon,

Kim

Published by Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Married Belgian-American couple living in Europe helping families connect through fitness across cultures and continents; with a passion for well-being - mind, body, heart and soul.

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