I do not care about the things you own or the letters behind your name. I care about how hard you have loved the things your heart beats for.- Mark Groves
I read an article on Valentine's Day that stated that getting married is not an accomplishment for a woman. That woman should be applauded more for their educational and work contributions. This article made me immediately furious. First, let's review the word accomplishment.
According to The American Oxford Dictionary accomplishment is defined as: ac·com·plish·ment | əˈkämpliSHmənt |noun something that has been achieved successfully: the reduction of inflation was a remarkable accomplishment. • the successful achievement of a task: the accomplishment of planned objectives. • an activity that a person can do well, typically as a result of study or practice: long-distance running was another of her accomplishments. • skill or ability in an activity: a poet of considerable accomplishment.
How is the meshing of TWO lives into ONE happy life, NOT considered an accomplishment?!!?
I was married two years, four months and nine days. 860 days and it was an accomplishment deserving of an Olympic medal. Even newly divorced I feel that women should not have to choose what we celebrate. Why do women have to choose between celebrating our career, our academic accomplishments, being a mother, and having a successful marriage. Discouraging a woman from celebrating love is just as repressive as paying us less for our work. I was disappointed that a woman felt compelled to disparage another woman's choice. Because I don't know the author I have left room for misunderstanding on my end.
Having it all is never a question for men. Every woman I know desires some level of companionship and adoration. Our degrees and titles provide neither. No matter what we choose, we deserve to express our individual desires and not have our womanhood challenged. We should not feel compelled to express any less than our authentic desires.
It is my nature to love and nurture. On the other hand I am also intelligent and business savvy. Why should I choose between the parts of who I am? How? Unapologetically, I contain multitudes.
Work achievements and degrees deserve applause. They build character, but these are an individual sport. On the other hand, marriage requires the ability to work well with others. Today, more than ever I am aware of how difficult coordinating a life with another human being can be. I am deeply impressed by the parts of life that require us to stretch in magnificent ways. Marriage is undoubtedly one of those things. I have obtained work titles and college degrees. These required dedication and skill, but the outcome was based solely on my actions. I learned a great deal earning my degrees and my work goals.
However, the life experience that has stretched me the most, has been motherhood. I’m not impressed by Bad Ass Women. This is all I know. Womanhood is amazing. We do it all in a 5-inch heel with lipstick, not a hair out of place, and still, allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Like motherhood, one thing even the most accomplished woman has to balance is her choice in life partner. The partner we choose determines how high we fly. Our peace, our self esteem, and the quality of our health.
How is it NOT an accomplishment to marry a man that knows how to hold you when you need it but also expects and cheers on your greatness? Building a life with a partner that finds your strength complementary to his masculinity and not a challenge is an accomplishment. It is not the only one. There are so many opportunities inside a marriage.
Here are a few things that make a healthy marriage an accomplishment:
Balancing your needs and wants with your mates.
Holding on to your identity
Keeping someone close to your heart and simultaneously not allowing their individuality to disturb your peace.
Refusing to settle while waiting for the person that speaks your love language.
Loving and being loved without fear.
Forgoing the excitement of new friends and the comfort of old friends to protect your marriage.
To rely on your mate and still depend on yourself.
To have a forgiving heart and a short memory.
To trust that they got you, and allow it to be so.
To marry none other than your best friend.
To be treated with respect and kindness.
To know when it's time to let go.
If getting married was not an accomplishment, it would not be cause for celebrations, there would be more, and the success rate would be higher.
Marriage is not an accomplishment because of the man that you marry. It is an accomplishment because choosing a partner that facilitates a good marriage requires a level of self-awareness and self-care that many women do not allow themselves to have.
Finding yourself married to a man that values your friendship and romance above all others is an accomplishment.
Feeling loved consistently, protected, and appreciated is an accomplishment.
Having a mate that is a partner and has your back no matter what is an achievement.
Blending families and providing your children with a bonus parent is an accomplishment.
Being loved by a man that isn't afraid to communicate and values your opinion is an accomplishment.
A marriage that isn't HARD is an accomplishment.
Marriage, like any relationship, requires an exchange of energy. But, it should not be tedious, back-breaking work. If you find yourself repeating that your marriage/relationship is hard work, I implore you to honestly evaluate your relationship.
Love and friendship are easy with the right person. Sometimes you are the reason your relationship is back-breaking work. Only you know if you are ready to be in a relationship or if you are compatible with your mate. Pushing a boulder uphill however and calling it love is not an accomplishment. It is an exercise in insanity. People that are in marriages in which it is consistently hard did not marry the right person.
Marrying and maintaining a healthy marriage with "your person" out of all the people on this planet is a huge accomplishment.
I applaud every woman that is brave enough to desire it and strong enough to accept nothing less.