Sunday, May 31, 2015

"This is Marriage."


Once upon a time I had an idea of what marriage was. I had the idea forming for as long as I can remember, but it was probably when I was 22 and had been dating Hank for a year that I really started to think about it. And back then I knew exactly what it would be like. Of course, right? I felt well-aware of how it would and should go thanks to a made-up definition I'd built from other peoples’ relationships that influenced me in some way- my parents, friends who had married before me, friends who had divorced or separated, television and movies, little things from various parts of my world that kind of floated into my subconscious and made a home right there- “This is marriage.” 

And so seven years ago today we tied the knot ourselves. Life goes by so quickly, and by the time we got married we’d already been together for four years. Because we were coupled from such a young age, we really learned everything together- all the small and large, easy and hard parts of becoming adults right alongside one another. It’s odd really, to look back at us. It’s like we were operating with blinders on- we were in this bubble of our own, evolving and changing through our twenties, but somehow we managed to only grow closer together through that decade, coming out on the other side very different people, but somehow still intertwined. 

And although marriage is nothing like I pictured, it's even better. In a world that's spinning, spinning, spinning, this is my safe place. A slow little calm in the midst of everything, a deep breath that grounds me. It took a long time to really lean into this, to be 100% vulnerable and give every bit of myself, and this has happened only recently. That might sound odd because we’ve been together for over a decade, but there were always very small parts that I held back- tiny little walls that were erected one by one when I felt scared or lost or defeated that took hold in the back corners of my heart that Hank probably didn’t even see. What it really comes down to is that it takes bravery to allow yourself to be loved. It’s hard to peel back every single layer, even those last bits that you don’t let anyone through- and allow someone to peer in and see what’s there.

Our marriage is made up of two very separate, different people. Sure, we’re alike in many ways, but we’re two human beings who have decided to spend a lifetime together. We make this work by existing in our own wonderful, beautiful orbits, then meeting in the middle to create our own little universe right there. We are still who we are and we still do what we love to do- we don’t need each other to exist or to feel whole. But we choose to be together and create this life together because we want to. And we keep on choosing that, every single day. 

9 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, very true indeed.

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  2. I always thought I knew what married life was going to be like and yes, it is better than I expected. However, things are never perfect and I also feel like I am learning something new about my husband every day! Great post! So true. :)

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  3. Yes! Particularly this: 'we’ve been together for over a decade, but there were always very small parts that I held back- tiny little walls that were erected one by one when I felt scared or lost or defeated that took hold in the back corners of my heart that Hank probably didn’t even see. What it really comes down to is that it takes bravery to allow yourself to be loved.' So true! Your post reminds me of one of my favorite poems by Carol Lynn Pearson.
    HOME

    Outside your arms
    Is a place I like to visit
    But I wouldn’t want
    To live there.

    This is home now
    ... This small cozy structure
    We build of an embrace.
    This is comfort–
    It is fireplace, lamp,
    And softest chair.

    I will go out
    From time to time
    For exercise and such
    And to keep in touch
    With the world where people
    Eat and laugh and work.

    But I’m a stranger there now,
    A stranger in a strange land,
    And I never get warm enough
    And I’m always alone.

    Then–
    The touch of your hand,
    And I know I’m nearly home.

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  4. Ditto Danielle. One of the few things in life that you think you have all sorted out that actually turns out to be better than you expected. I love how marriage truly gets better as time goes on. Not to be cheesy, but its like anything the more you practice and work at it, the better you get at it. I could go on and on but it really to me is a lot like yoga. You sometimes have to twist all up and stretch further than you ever thought you could, but in the end is peace like no other.

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  5. I'm 33 and on my third marriage - because I was young and dumb and made really bad mistakes. There are so many reasons I know this marriage is different (real, genuine, honest reasons - not the delusional reasons I told myself in the past), and that includes some of the things you mentioned here (being brave enough to bare our true souls to one another, getting up every single day and not only deciding to be together over and over again, but gratefully and happily making that choice, and so on). I've wanted to write about it for awhile, but felt so unqualified given the circumstances. This has really inspired me to (eventually) put my own thoughts on virtual paper - maybe the lessons I've learned can prevent someone else (my own children?!) from making the same mistakes...

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  6. I love these thoughts! So simply stated yet so true.

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  7. My husband and I have been married for less than three weeks. We lived together before we got married so everyone assumed (me included) that nothing would change. And the first few days it really didn't feel that different. But every day there's something new. We're settling deeper into one another. We can feel little things crumble away and it's not till those things are gone that you even realize that they were there in the first place.
    I am excited to see where this takes us.
    Thank you for this post. It was wonderful for me to read right now.

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  8. This is really beautiful. And most definitely came in the right time :)

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