The thing is, is that it's about having a witness to my life.
I didn't understand for such a very long time. I'd had my heart crumpled young - too young, really. I was naïve to understand that he was the making of me, not the breaking, and that misunderstanding coloured my choices for days that became weeks that became, in the end, about five years of healing. It took many forms: promiscuity, celibacy, travel: searching so that I got my answers but was still puzzled as to the question.
But, you see, because of all that, I'm really fucking proud of who I am. And the woman I've become? She wants to share her life with a man. A husband.
It's not a desperate kind of want. It isn't sleeplessness nights and pints of ice-cream salted with the tears of singledom. It's not the ticking of a biological clock, nor the irritatingly true knowledge that rent would be cheaper split by two. It's not about sex. I'm not searching for my other half, the soulmate who will make me whole. I'm not incomplete.
I'm not incomplete.
The obvious, practical stuff aside - making my own money, being able to change the fuse on a lamp, backpacking solo and how to figure out interest rates and train timetables and reverse parking and the best way to mow the lawn - emotionally, I'm ripe.
Beyoncé said it best (because she always does): you have to have a life, before you can be somebody's wife. Oh baby, have I had a life. I've cried tears enough to earn the right to be empathetic and strong with the man who feels courage from standing by my side. I've laughed so much that I can make the future father of my children see the funny side of our lost luggage, or the leak in the ceiling, or even, with enough time, the tragedy that blindsided us both one sunny Friday afternoon.
Make no mistake, I've been so angry and frustrated that when he thinks he can't take anymore - of work, of family, of the tiredness of life - I understand the difference between psychological space from words, and the closeness of my chin on his shoulder, just for a minute. I've known the aching for roots, so we can build a home together, somewhere in the world, and developed a taste for freedom, too. I don't need a yes man, and won't be a yes woman, either.
This man, my husband, the one I'm ready for, he'll have lived as well. He'll be whole from experience. I don't need a project, somebody to mother. He doesn't have to be broken to be interesting (why do we always look for them to be broken?) but they'll be cracks in us both that being together will help mend. He'll know himself, and his self-kindness might teach me to go easier on myself. His manners could make me more accountable to those around me, and possibly his ambition will guide my own. I might be whole but I'm not perfect; I still have more to learn than has been learnt. But I'll navigate those lessons eventually, with or without him. I don't need him.
It'd be hella fun to do this next part of growing, of understanding, of learning and becoming together, though.
This want, it's want for watching how he talks to his parents over dinner, so that I get insight into how I engage with my own mum and dad. I want long and lazy Sunday afternoons wrapped around each other in bed, surprising myself with truths that feel safe to share in dappled, early evening light. I want blazing, heated rows in the aisle of Ikea over everything and nothing at all, friends over to our apartment for dinner, children who look like me and sound like him - everything it takes to unfold another human being so that I might unfold myself.
I want to love whole-heartedly and without restraint with a man who is there when I wake up and knows when to leave me alone and when to take the small of my back with just the right amount of pressure. Doing so will make me better, will teach me - as will letting myself lose control enough to be loved. Because, of course, that's harder than loving when we're all waiting to get found at that somehow, we don't deserve it.
We do. I do. My husband does, too. We all deserve a cheerleader, a champion, an equal.
I've taken it this far, and I've done it goddamn well. If this is life alone, then life in a partnership - a coupling where we make each other better, compensate for weaknesses and amplify strengths - well, shit. That'd be some life.
This post first appeared on megfee.com