why i’m marrying mr. lively


When it comes to getting ready for marriage, I’ve had quite an interesting journey.

After peacefully ending a long relationship, I was determined to find out “why” it happened. And the only answer that I could ever arrive was that there must be something out there that was a better fit for both of us.

So with that in mind, I entered the single world in search for the person who was that “better fit” for me.

But in between the past relationship and my current one, I went from a paradigm of “a good relationship is a healthy one,” to “a great relationship is a perfect one.”

For a year I struggled with the idea that I very, very much wanted to get married. And I very, very much wanted to find the perfect person to have a perfect relationship with.

As Mr. Lively and I dated, I honestly struggled with the concept that we were right for each other because he didn’t “complete me.”

Though Susie, my partner in crime at Jess LC for three years, would tell you that she’s never seen me happier than when I dated Mr. Lively, I had my doubts as to whether he was “enough.”

It hurts me even to type this. But it was true.

Mind you, I have never in my life struggled with the idea of a perfect man or perfect relationship before. In high school I dated a guy that wouldn’t even call me his girlfriend, and even asked someone else to prom instead of me… and I stayed with him anyways. 

But with Mr. Lively I suddenly turned on the microscope.

Though in real life I felt completely great and confident with our relationship, when I looked at relationships shared online I felt we were missing something.

All the glossy pics of couples and tender stories of love had me pining for that kind of relationship. The fairy tale online kind.

So needless to say, it seems fairly obvious that I should have just smacked myself upside the head and bolted out of my insanity. But that isn’t what happened.

Instead, I doubted us.

And when that fear bubbled up I would also have a nagging worry: are you with him because you want to get married? 

Oh yeah. That’s a great thought, I can tell ya that.

To help myself process all of these conflicting emotions I turned to prayer. Whenever I prayed about the situation, I got some calming responses in my heart, but it didn’t give me the outright direction I desperately wanted.

But eventually, after months of spiritual growth, great times with Mr. Lively, and the general maturing of our relationship, I had a breakthrough.

Instead of running away from the fear that I wanted to get married more than I wanted to find the “right” person, I embraced it.

Rather than push that fear down, I brought it up to the light and celebrated it.


The reasons I wanted to get married were largely spiritual by that point (as opposed to some early ego wishes exacerbated by rom coms and romantic blog posts). I now believe that a holy relationship (which can be in the form of a marriage, or not) can bring me even more personal growth. To commit to being with someone through thick and thin, to celebrate them, and accept their weaknesses. To grow together and start a family that I can share this acceptance and love with. That is what a holy relationship, or in my case, marriage, is really supposed to be about for me.

However, as my prayers led me to understand, my ego will inevitably wish for someone that will “complete me.” And I will inevitably fail to find someone who does.

So I basically get to choose someone who has traits that I value, via a mix of my spirit and a bit of my inevitable ego, to be my partner in this journey.

Instead of waiting for “Mr. Right” who sweeps me off my feet so that I’m suddenly ready for a holy relationship because he is perfect, I’m putting the commitment to a holy relationship above my future Mister’s perfection, or lack thereof.

No longer am I looking though a dirty lens of “What does he do for me? Me. Me. Me.” I’m now looking through a clearer lens of “I’m choosing my partner in this journey so we can love, grow, and give together.”

And since I intend for this commitment to be a lifelong one, I’m not taking my partner decision lightly. But I’m also not waiting for a pedestal.

When I think about what person I want to be in a holy relationship with for the rest of my life, my mind and heart immediately turned to Mr. Lively.

The answer suddenly became simple.

His kindness, wit, intelligence, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and good-heartedness are all qualities I’m excited to celebrate in our lives. And with our future children.

And though this may not be the way most people arrive at their marriages (or talk about them online), for me, it is what feels good and real.


This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. kalanicut

    Oh, you are good, lady. Someone needed to say this big & out loud in just the humble, beautiful way you said it. Coming to a place of getting married is more difficult than anyone will ever admit. No matter how realistic we try to be what we see in movies, on TV, and the little bits we hear about other’s relationships give a person no idea of what it’s really like. It is an amazing journey of growth if done well. But growth usually starts with examining and critiquing everything external and ends with realizing the battle is internal…and facing the fact that there are zero guarantees about any outcomes in our lives. But growth is always guaranteed if we accept the challenge and the blessings. Loved reading about your journey. I think you’ll inspire and help a lot of people. You definitely inspired me to continue to focus thoughts & efforts.

  2. LIesl

    After 7 years with a man I will get to call ‘husband’ after next October, I had SO many of these same thoughts. And let me tell you what a peace came over me as I read your post – because that same internal struggle of is this ‘enough’ would ebb and flow throughout our dating years. Yes I loved him, yes I COULD marry him…but it wasn’t the ‘ideal’ and he wasn’t the overly-romantic Mr. Right. But instead, I get to have my partner in crime, who will go on adventures with me and be my rock or lighthouse when I need it. You are absolutely right, Jess, I chose a partner who will love, grow and give with me.

  3. Melissa

    Besides the fact that perfection is impossible… it’s, well, boring. Finding someone who will be there through the ups and downs, who will grow with you, who will challenge you, who will share all the wonderful things in life that lie ahead… that’s much more fun 🙂

  4. Kelley

    “No longer am I looking though a dirty lens of ‘What does he do for me? Me. Me. Me.’ I’m now looking through a clearer lens of ‘I’m choosing my partner in this journey so we can love, grow, and give together.'”

    Amen, sister.

  5. Lo

    Thank you for sharing this. It really resonates with me right now.

  6. This is so refreshing to read! Not all of us have been dreaming about weddings days since childhood. I didn’t. I always had hopes of a fairy tale love story and was sorely disappointed. And then I met someone who was my match in values and who challenges me almost daily. I’d like to think I open his heart and mind in the same way. We don’t exchange gifts. We don’t have date night. We didn’t have a honeymoon, and we don’t take an annual trip to celebrate ourselves. We just love being. Being together. That’s what it’s supposed to be about, right? 🙂

  7. Jen

    This is the same journey my (now husband! as of three weeks ago!) took to figure out if we wanted to commit to each other, forever.. It’s hard to evaluate and pursue what is true and what is “right” for YOU when there are so many stories and ideals and expectations all around us. We were so different in so many ways, but we force each other to grow, constantly, and I know that he will always support me and never leave me. Those were my non-negotiables. This quote by Mort Fertel really puts it into perspective:

    “Most people spend more time, effort, and money trying to find the right person than they expend on learning to love the person that they waited for so long and looked so hard to find. But the emphasis should be reversed. Suppose your goal was to be a painter; would you spend most of your time learning how to paint or looking for the right model? “Love has very little to do with finding the right person. Most people who searched and chose the “right person” are now divorced. If you’re asking whether or not you’re with the right person, you might be asking the wrong question… The most important question is not how to find the right person – it’s how to create and maintain a deep, loving connection with the person you find.”

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. so happy for you! i already knew this, but you’ve got your head on straight! i love that it was a head decision and not JUST a heart one. i think so many people “feel” in love and then don’t realize how committed they really have to be even when they don’t feel it. excited for your journey and to follow along!

  9. Kylie

    So grateful for this post! Way too often, people think that they should feel “completed” by their partner. As you’ve stated so eloquently, that isn’t necessarily healthy. I like to think that I’m complete by myself, but that I’m definitely complimented by my partner. Feels much better that way.

  10. Sarah

    How refreshing, Jess! This is one of the best things I have read in a long time. Spoke right to my soul. Thank you for sharing! All the best to you and Mr. Lively.

  11. pve

    You took the words right out of my mouth….(but that was nearly 30 years ago.)
    Good news is I am married to the same man and we will celebrate 25 years of marriage.
    I can tell you that even over time, bumps, hills, streams, valleys….we have remained full of faith and respect for one another. A partnership is like a trip and sometimes you have to be open to getting lost along the way and then arriving at a fantastic destiny.
    Wishing you both all the best.

  12. Stephanie

    Hey Jess,

    Thanks for this honest and open post. You are wise beyond your years.


  13. Shantel

    I’ve had these same feelings before–especially when I the relationship I’m in right now was long distance. Now that we are in the same city i’m no longer questioning if what we have is real or comparing myself to other couples who seem to have a fairy tale relationship. Thank you for your honesty! I love reading your blog!

  14. Paulene

    Oh, I love your posts! Thank you for being so honest. I don’t think a lot of people know what they’re getting into when they get married. It’s so easy to get swept up in wedding planning and the glossy pictures. I think it’s so wise to take a moment to really think about it and what happens after the wedding. I don’t think my husband is perfect (neither am I) but he stands by me through the rough spots, he tells me like it is, and he knows exactly what to say and do at the moments I need it the most. That matters a lot to me.


    Congratulations!! i´ve been married for 16 years this october and been very happy- with ups and downs- but living and sharing a life is wondeful!!! wish you the best!!


    Congratulations!! i´ve been married for 16 years this october and been very happy- with ups and downs- but living and sharing a life is wondeful!!! wish you the best!!

  17. Makiea

    Love the honesty and truth! I had the same exact feelings and thoughts when I got married a couple of years ago. My husband was someone I would not have gone after initially but the important traits that you listed above are all the reasons I went with it. His loyalty and his need to want to protect me and our daughter is everything for me. I’m so glad I wasn’t a fool and walked away from what’s important. Thanks once again for being so transparent.

  18. Jess

    Thank you all so, so much for your support! It was pretty scary to share this, but I love that I’m not alone in this journey to learn what’s really important.

  19. Hannah

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have struggled with this so many times but couldn’t ever put it into words. So true.

  20. Amelia

    A really lovely, well-written piece, Jess… I wish you every happiness:)
    I’ve only recently discovered your blog, and am looking forward to futher eloquent offerings!

  21. Jen

    I want to encourage you in saying that I think it is wonderful that you are looking at this in the way you are. I have been blessed to be married to my bff for 12 years. I went through the same thoughts-realistic ones-and we are living proof that those questions/conclusions are worth asking/arriving at. Everyone else around me thought that I should have the lovey dovey squishy feeling, otherwise it wasn’t meant to be. People are going to say what they will. You are praying about this and that is where you need to be dwelling. Marriage is a rocky endeaver, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it:) I wish you well!

  22. Joy

    Dear Jess,
    I am in college & have been in a relationship with the greatest guy for four months. As I read your post, my mouth dropped open & stayed that way for the majority of my time reading it. I feel very much like you did a lot of the time and am so encouraged that someone else felt the way I do. Thank you for reminding me that committing to each other and choosing to love each other every day is more important than seemingly perfect relationships and getting swept off our feet. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Thank you again!

    1. Jess Lively

      I’m so happy to hear this post helped you, Joy!

      I can tell you this post was the summation of almost a year’s worth of struggle. So if it is able to help you find more peace and clarity in your own relationship I am so grateful! : )

  23. meghann

    I found this post in a roundabout way through a podcasy you did about turning 30. This has resonated with me completely and totally. I assumed that I would feel some kind of definitive yes, a sign that this was the right guy. It never came. Now having read this it’s so obvious that of course my husband is the man I want to share my life with, that’s the point in the end, not some romantic ideal. So thank you.

    1. Jess Lively

      I’m so glad you came across this post and that it connected with you. That’s amazing. Happy New Year!

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