John and Abigail Adams. King Hussein and Queen Noor. Bill and Melinda Gates. Barack and Michelle Obama. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Kim and Kanye? These are just some couples who appear to have a great partnership as well as romance and passion in their marriages. ( I suppose the jury is still out on Kim and Kanye…..)

Back in the day (and in some parts in the world still) being hitched, especially for women, was linked to survival or a business transaction between families. In the 21st century, when woman 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 Elizabeth Gilbert’s 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?

Male or female, we all have needs, along with the 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 journey to 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, 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 a justice of inner 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.

(Today’s PGG was originally published on July 20, 2010)

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