And then after five years I left him. And then 10 years later, I got married again to another wonderful guy, who is the father of my now 16-years-old son. We still have a wonderful relationship. He is a really good guy.
But after four years I left him, too. And I am not proud to say that I did that, but in order to really marry yourself, you have to get sometimes very painfully honest with yourself about what it is that you’ve done. So I’m not proud of that.
And then eight years later, I got married again, when I was 40, and I was like, “OK, this feels right!”
Let me tell you what felt right to a girl who was in 24 foster homes: a guy who started to date after nine months of marriage; essentially, he started dating a 21-year-old girl. OK, I mean, it would be funny, if it weren’t so tragic. You have to have a sense of — that is why we’re Facebook friends.
So, here I am looking at this person that I just described with a terrible track record of relationships, and I’m like, “I’m supposed to marry her? This is the woman you want me to marry?”
And the answer is yes. Because here is the deal: the thing about marrying yourself is not just like cohabitating. You’re not just going to date for a while and see how it turns out. You are going to do this till death do you part. You are going to take vows.
So here are the vows. Number 1: you are going to marry yourself for richer or for poorer. This means you are going to love yourself right where you are. You don’t say to yourself, “When you get to the corner of Hollywood and Vine, then I will marry you.”
You don’t say, “When you lose ten pounds, then I will love you.”
And you don’t say, “If you hadn’t married that loser, I would love you, but since you did, I’m sorry, I think it’s over.”
When you marry yourself, you walk yourself down that aisle exactly where you are. And paradoxically, I found that loving myself exactly where I am is the only way to get where I am going.
Number 2: you are going to marry yourself for better or for worse. What this means is that most of us are willing to love ourselves for better, I mean, sure, I am having a great hair day today. I love me. That’s not what I am talking about.
I’m talking about for worse, you know, the big life disappointments. Maybe you don’t own a home, you didn’t get the career you wanted, maybe you didn’t graduate from college, maybe you didn’t get the relationship you wanted. Maybe it hasn’t turned out — maybe you fight with your mum, maybe you watch too much reality TV, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter anymore. Because when you marry yourself, you agree to stay with you no matter what.
Third, you marry yourself in sickness and in health. So what this means is that you forgive yourself for your mistakes. A mistake isn’t actually a failure unless you don’t learn from it and unless you don’t grow.
There is a saying, “You ask for patience, and what you get is a line at the bank.”
What that means is that life does not give you what you’ve asked for, it gives you the people, places, and situations that allow you to develop what you ask for.
And the thing is if you don’t get it right the first time, life will give it to you again. Because life is very generous that way. It’s like I didn’t get it the first time, in the first marriage, and I didn’t get it the second time, maybe the third time I’ll get it.
So inside that terrible experience of that third marriage, I learned something about “in sickness and in health”. What I learned is how to sit by my own bedside, and how to hold my own hand, and how to nurse myself, and how to comfort myself. And what I learned is that I am a person that I can count on.
Last but not least, you marry yourself — when you marry yourself, it’s to have and to hold yourself. What does it mean to have and to hold? Well, I think it means that you love yourself the way you want someone else to love you.
I had always been going through life with this sense of lack. I felt like I was kind of half a person, and that I was missing something. I went into my relationships hoping to solve this feeling that I had my entire life: that I wasn’t whole unless someone loved me.
And the truth was that I wasn’t ever going to feel whole until I learned to love myself. So this business of marrying yourself transforms every area of your life: your business, family relationships, kids, social relationships, friends. Because when you marry yourself, this huge thing happens: you become able to love in this whole new way. You become able to love other people right where they are, for who they are, the same way you’re already loving yourself. And of course, this is what the world needs more of.
So when I married myself, and I realized that I already had everything I needed, I started seeing it as my job to basically just light up my little corner of the world. That’s my new job. Because I don’t need anything, I already have it.