Offering two cows and five chickens for my wife seems strange to me today but not long ago (and still existing in many forms today) marriage was a business transaction to support the survival of two families and hopefully the increase of status. How I actually chose my wife was formed in a newer paradigm. This one has me choosing a loving partner, who chooses me, that is a soulmate whom is my everything and will continue to be my everything: best friend, lover, partner, etc. Many would argue there has been a positive development in moving from business to love; however, a major problem comes out of this shift. All you need is love. Love lifts us up where we belong. You had me at hello. Soulmate and love make it seem that once you find it, that's it, your enlightened all positive life has finally arrived. I'm going to let you in on something you may already know, this just isn't true. When we chose to couple out of love, we usually end up with someone reflecting our first experiences with love: we really do tend to marry some form of our mothers or fathers. And this being the case means our partners will hurt us and drive us crazy just like how our parents were able. It's not all bed of roses. Thus, I urge you to shift to an even newer paradigm. Partnership and marriage is finding someone you love enough to do the tough task of deep healing. I'm signing up to be a stand-in for your parents and you are standing in for mine... and both of us will learn to do things differently because of the ways they fucked up in the past (even the best ones). I will take time to learn that when you yell at me about the house being clean, there is a deep need to feel taken care of because of ways you didn't feel taken care of by your parents. You will learn that when I complain you focus too much on work, it is really my deep need to not be alone because I felt so alone as a kid. But here's the thing, you aren't suppose to understand your partner, love does NOT give you understanding. You did not live their life or grow up in their family. It's a learning process. You got to ask questions. You got to teach each other. You both need to understand how the past shapes the present. You have to actively listen, take notes, and practice. It's why things like couple's therapy can help. Love is only the glue to motivate the learning. So rewrite that movie script: You had me at, "hello... but can we also not solely believe love is enough, can you also teach me about your pain and needs so I may try to do things differently, which will be hard for me because it will stretch me, challenge me, and ask me to grow, but I know it will be worth it because it will help you heal, and I also know that you'll be doing the same for me, and anyways this is what a partnership really is, and we won't get this right away, and we'll have to keep trying, and we'll hurt each other like we were hurt in the past, and I'll feel bad about hurting you and angry about you hurting me, and it might take me a lifetime to really understand but I'll keep trying if you'll be patient with me and keep teaching and keep trying too, and..."