The Man Who Can Keep Up With Me Is The Man I'm Going To Marry

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bride and groom holding hands

Listen, I've been noisy, opinionated, and have taken up space since I was born, so any complaint that I'm "difficult" isn't news to me at this point.

However, hearing that no longer makes me feel like I need to fall in line or play my life smaller; it means I need to partner with someone strong enough to handle it.

I'm not "settling down." I'm not listening to anyone's idea of "acting my age" or "being ladylike." And I'm certainly not stopping.

The only type of partner I'll stick with permanently is the one who can keep up.

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Don't get it twisted, though. He shouldn't think like me or agree with me all the time; I need someone who is an independent, free-thinker, too.

I welcome a spouse who disagrees with me on a few things because I admire others who can form their own opinions and maintain their own spine.

Why on earth would I expect my husband to respect my power if I can't do the same in return?

He should set his own pace, live by his own code, and march to the beat of his own drummer.

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I dig partners with autonomy and their own inherent drive.

I'm not about to stall someone else's progress just so they'll conform to my agenda because I don't have the time, energy, or desire to waste effort molding a human being into someone who complements me.

Naturally, I expect the same consideration in return.

What I don't need is someone tugging on my reins because he's scared of me shining too brightly.

I don't deserve someone attempting to curb my passions because I don't fit some arbitrary definition of what a "proper lady" or "respectable wife" is.

I don't need someone creating another obstacle or voice of doubt in my life because he's threatened by a strong partner.

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I'm only marrying someone who is secure enough in himself to let me walk my honest path without feeling like he needs to control me.

I'm marrying someone who believes in personal autonomy and has faith that I can handle myself, even in my lowest moments.

This is not to say I'll never need help; we all do at some point. But any man I marry will be able to provide a shoulder to lean on without demanding to commandeer my life or deciding what's best for me.

I'm marrying someone who doesn't push or restrain, but just wants to hold my hand and smile while I do me to the fullest.

There aren't many candidates who fit that bill — but that's alright; I only want one.

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Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer whose work has appeared in Huffington Post, Time Magazine, XOJane, Ravishly, and ThoughtCatalog.