How do you like your eggs?

Do you remember the 1999 movie Runaway Bride? It was the second collaboration of Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, and director Garry Marshall. Here is a short synopsis for those who might have slept since 1999 and have forgotten this romantic comedy. Woman dates a few different men, becomes engaged at different times to each of the men, and ends up leaving all of the men at the alter. Woman meets a writer who intends to use her story for his own self-interest. One thing he notices about her is she likes her eggs cooked the same way her fiancée at the time does. Spoiler alert! Woman and writer fall in love and decided to marry in a ridiculously short amount of time. Surprise! She leaves him at the alter, also. But in the end, they do get together and even marry. My younger self from 20+ years ago did not like that surprise. My wiser self (20+ years older) now recognizes that as the best part of the movie. She leaves him at the alter to discover who she is and how she likes her eggs cooked independent of any other influence. In other words, she comes to know herself before getting into a relationship. This has become something I strongly advocate.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I am not anti-marriage (far from it). Nor do I think it’s possible to have a true and complete sense of identity before taking that step. If that were the case, no one would get married until the day before they died. That probably wouldn’t do any good.

What I am saying is there are some basic things that should be understood before combining forces with another person. A strong base, a foundation of self. Know a few of your whys before you have to figure out another person’s whys.

What is it you like to do? What are your hobbies? What are your dislikes? What are you never willing to do? What is your greatest sense of self? What makes you feel accomplishment? What gives you the greatest boost of confidence? Who are you? What makes you tick? What can you never see yourself doing? What part of you are you unwilling to sacrifice?

Answering questions like these will give you a sense of identity. Namely, who you are, what you stand for and what you will not allow. See, that last one is the kicker. That is the deal breaker. Knowing what you will and will not allow makes all the difference.

I realize that growth should be expected in a marriage. If you are alive then you are growing. If your marriage is alive then it should be growing. You need to be open to try new things. Maybe you will discover a better way to cook your eggs. That is a completely different scenario. A growing relationship in which both partners are progressing as individuals and drawing together as a team is a healthy relationship.

I think getting to know oneself a little bit as a human before attaching another human to the mix permanently is not a bad idea. Some people have a strong sense of self at the age of 18. Others still have no clue at the age of 43. There is no one-size fits all when it comes to marrying or the perfect age.

My advice is to build your foundation everyday. Single or married. Travel. Work. Gain experience. Fail. Succeed. Try. Work out a plan. Be willing to toss out the plan. You decide you. And, of course, don’t forget to figure out how you prefer your eggs cooked.

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