We live in a very black and white society. We have a tendency to categorize things and people—fat or skinny, old or young, married or single, gay or straight.
We’re constantly under pressure to know what we want from our lives, to know who we are. Since we’re young, people ask us, “What’s your passion?” and expect us to turn that into a career. When we start dating, we’re asked, “Is he The One?” And when we get married it’s, “Do you want kids?” or worse, “When are you having kids?”
There’s all this pressure to KNOW. We’re supposed to somehow have our lives planned out from now until death. What career will we choose? Where will we live? Will we have 2.5 kids? What’s our personal style?
But the thing is, it’s okay not to know. It’s okay NOT to be either black or white—but somewhere in the middle. It’s okay to be grey. In fact, I think it can lead to more adventure and spontaneity in a marriage to be grey sometimes. If you already have everything planned out, are you really leaving room for what else might happen? And that thing that might happen—isn’t there a chance it could be an adventure worth embarking upon?
Earlier this week, I went on a walk with one of my married friends. She tied the knot a few years ago, and people have been asking her when she and her husband will have kids. She’s felt pressured to give a definitive answer to the people asking this question.
“The thing is, I just don’t feel 100% certain I even WANT kids,” she said.
“I get that,” I replied. “But are you 100% certain you DON’T want kids?”
She laughed. “No! And I’ve never thought of it that way.”
I told her I simply don’t think it’s reasonable that she be expected to know the answer to, “Will you ever want kids?” She knows she’s not ready for them now, but later she might be. Or, she might never be ready and never have them. But, I think we should all be easier on ourselves and allow ourselves to live in the grey a little more.
This week, be conscious of “the grey.” Be aware when you’re trying to make your spouse commit to a decision on something, and be aware when he or she is doing it to you. Understand that not knowing is not only okay, but it could turn out to be a great thing.