John and Abigail Adams. King Hussein and Queen Noor. Bill and Melinda Gates.  Barack and Michelle Obama.  Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy? These are just some couples who appear to have a great partnership as well as romance and passion in their marriages.  (The jury is still out on Bethenny and Jason…but they looked the part for TV, didn’t they?)

Back in the day (and in some parts in the world still) especially for women, being hitched was linked to survival or a business transaction between families.  In 2010, where we can now lead successful independent lives, where does that leave us with the whole question of saying “I do”? (For an interesting musing on the subject check out Liz Gilbert’s recent book, Committed)

The ‘fruits of feminism’ have at times confused us all. As I recently heard in a lecture by sociologist and masculinity expert Michael Kimmel, if a woman is captain of the ice hockey team and top of her class at Yale, the guys subconsciously think, what the heck does she need me for?

Whether a woman or a man we all have needs, and then things we think are needs. You may not need another person to take care of you physically, emotionally, financially and/or spiritually, but everyone wants someone to love and to be loved in return, whether you’re woman, man or even a fish. We look for partners, friends, lovers, intimacy. And that has nothing to do with what gender you are, what era you were born in or who the object of your affection may be – it is a timeless, eternal and basic human instinct.

But before you tie the knot with another (or at any point throughout your nuptial bliss or blitz) I always recommend marrying yourself first – whatever that means to you.  Because if you don’t promise to love, honor and cherish yourself, then why would anyone else?

Can’t quite make it to the altar with yourself or your beloved? I’m no Dr. Ruth, Millionaire Matchmaker or internet-ordained minister, but I can serve as justice of the peace and help you discover that first comes self-love, then comes some form of marriage, then comes whatever it is you desire, even if it is just a cabbage.

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