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  • Alisha Emerald

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A few weeks ago, while I was sitting in the hospital waiting room waiting for my scan, I posted a question box on my instagram stories. One of those fun, ask me anything boxes. I was hoping to answer some fun questions as a way to kill time. One of the questions I was asked was how I knew Cody was the one. I answered, but the question lingered with me for days following.

A few days after that, I was having a conversation with a friend who'd attended the same Bible College I had, and we were talking about toxic purity culture, and this idea of rushing into marriage for the purpose of having sex.

The honest answer to the question of how I knew Cody was the one was that I didn't. I got married at 20, right out of college, having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I'm not knocking getting married young. I know for a lot of people it works out great. But when I said I do, I wasn't in it for the right reasons.

I didn't want to get married. I did it because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. I did it because I thought it would "fix" me. Growing up in the church, purity culture taught that sex was to be saved until marriage and if you did happen to have sex with the person you were with, the best way to rectify that was to get married as quickly as possible. I'd made a lot of mistakes in my life up til that point, and if I'm being 100% honest I probably would have married the first person who showed me any semblance of being a decent human being. That's kind of what I did, and it happened to be Cody, but let's continue on with the story.

I was desperate. I had no idea who I was let alone how to exist in a relationship. I wanted to be loved, and wanted. And I'd been fed this narrative that I needed to get married to become less sinful and more holy. Did I love Cody? Absolutely. But was I ready to get married? Absolutely not.

I purposefully kept my wedding small because I was ashamed. I didn't wear white because I didn't feel worthy of the colour. And I spent the first months after getting married resentful, wondering why the ring on my finger hadn't magically fixed me, planning for my inevitable divorce.

It took a few years and a lot of internal work for me to learn to be happy in my relationship, and ok with the title of wife. I worked with a feminine wholeness coach, deconstructing the lies I had been taught by purity culture and learning how to love and belong to myself first.

I don't know if I believe in finding the one. I think you choose someone, and you keep choosing them over and over. Cody and I are compatible in a lot of ways, and in a lot of ways we're different. I've had to learn that he can't be the only person to meet my needs, and that we need a lot of personal space in our relationship to be able to thrive. Staying in our marriage now feels less like a chore and more like a blessing. I’m proud of us. I've seen him sit beside my hospital bed for days on end. I've seen the amazing father he is to Paris, and already to our adopted children we have yet to bring home. I see how he provides and shows up for me, and those are the things that make me feel more secure in knowing I made the right choice.

Looking back I wouldn't have gotten married when I did, but I still would have married the same person. I just would have known myself a little better first. I wouldn't have gotten married as an attempt to fix myself but to share the love I already have within myself.

Cody and I just celebrated our 4th anniversary last month and I didn't think we'd even make it this far. But I do know I'm more in love with him now than I ever have been. I love being his wife. I love the way our relationship challenges me, inspires me and gives me a safe place to come home to. Life takes you crazy places but love brings you home.

It took a lot of work to get here. Marriage isn't easy. But I've been told the good things never are.

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