This Week in TED: The First Person You Need to Marry is You

After three failed marriages, author Tracy McMillan found that the person she needed to marry wasn’t who she expected. She wouldn’t find this person at a bar, the supermarket or on one of the next big online dating apps. The person she needed to build a life with was herself!

Tracy McMillan
Tracy McMillan

From the time she was a three month old, McMillan has been in foster care having lived in more than 24 different homes. Her mother spent her life prostituting while her father spent most of his time in jail for drug dealing and pimping. This lifestyle can ruin a person in so many different ways, but for McMillan it created an intense yearning for love and acceptance from another person, “I came out of that childhood with one goal,” McMillan explained and that was, “to never be left.” Her way of accomplishing this was to get married.

“I kept marrying the wrong person,” McMillian explains the real problem was, “It’s not that I choose bad guys,” she describes. After having gone through three failed marriages, McMillan had an epiphany, “I realized that I’ve been marrying everyone in sight, except the one person that I really needed to marry in order to have a great relationship.” This meant committing to herself.

Related reading: 5 Important Reasons Not to Fall in Love Too Quickly

McMillian created her own spin on traditional vows:

1. Marry yourself for richer or poorer

This means to love yourself right where you are. “You don’t say when you lose 10 pounds then I’ll love you.” You take yourself for exactly where you are and who you are at exactly the person you are in this present moment.

2. Marry yourself for better or for worse

“Maybe you don’t own a home, you didn’t get the career you wanted maybe you didn’t graduate from college…” These so-called failures you see for yourself… “When you agree to marry yourself you agree to stay with yourself no matter what.”

3. Marry yourself in sickness & in health

“You forgive yourself for your mistakes… a mistake isn’t actually a failure unless you don’t learn from it and unless you don’t grow.”

4. When you marry yourself it’s to have & to hold

“You love yourself the way you want someone else to love you,” McMillan explains that you shouldn’t worry about trying to make yourself likeable for others but when McMillan went out on a date she was focused on “how I felt in his presence.” You are essentially finding yourself liking yourself with that person and if all ends well you will be liked more for who are.

Read more: 4 Dating Rules: What You Need To Know Before Getting in the Game

“I’m not dying to hear the words Will You Marry Me… because I already heard them from myself,” McMillan found that she finally got married to the one person she wanted to be with all along.