About 2.5 years ago, I wrote a post about marriage that seemed to resonate with many people.
And life happens. Time passes. Relationships change. People change. I thought about rewriting this post from where I am/we are now. But as I reread the words, much of it still stands.
With respect to my relationship, so many conversations we are in with individuals and couples, and our process of evolution and growth, I have edited the original post, and made notes which are in parentheses and italics.
Marriage is an interesting endeavor. Two humans join together, supposedly for life, many times not TRULY knowing the other person, not knowing if they can actually LIVE together, and each participant being on their best behavior (for the most part) in order to woo the other. Most importantly, and likely most truthfully, neither of them
discovered who they are, first.
Additionally, if you’ve been married for over seven years, you’re very literally not the same person you were when you got married. Neither is your spouse. Your biology, the entirety of your cellular structure, turns over completely every seven years. You’re not the same people.
Sever year itch?
More like seven-year switch. (And 14, and 21, and so on)
Then, take into consideration the myriad of life situations that happen within a relationship over a period of time that have the potential to cause tension:
who sleeps on which side of the bed, one develops a love for fly fishing, the other for jigsaw puzzles, childbirth, how many kids to have, who stays home and who works, do both work?, (what are our roles), in-laws, sex, job stress, (sex), moving, (money), career changes, (sex), death, betrayal, (sex), the kids are all out of the house – now what?, (sex), vacations, friends, family dynamics. (Did I mention sex?)
Add these fun elixirs to two people who have not yet measured their own way of being. Before tying the knot, they hadn't given five minutes to figuring out who they are and what they want out of life. They run on autopilot of what marriage is supposed to look like. Give it a shot of fear, a (twist of expectation), and two shots of insecurity, (shaken with assumption and judgment.)
How can that possibly be successful?
Does anyone ever stop to ask:
What do YOU want?
What do I want?
Who are we?
Do we want the same things?
(There are so many questions to ask your partner, and yourself, these are a good beginning. I would now add, "What's it like for you to be married to me?")
We HAVE asked those questions. It’s not as easy as you think. It might be easy for one (Scott), and not so easy for the other (me). Or maybe it's difficult for both.
These are intensely serious questions that go way beyond the immediate, non-thinking, knee-jerk answer, “Oh yes. We are married. We love each other and there is no other way. I know exactly who my partner is (maybe with an eye-roll.) We took an oath in front of God. (This is just who we are.” SIGH.)
(There is much more possibility for life within your relationship. Honor yourself and each other with radical honesty.)
Look back at those questions.
Sit with your partner and look into their eyes. Then ask those questions of yourself.
Marriage is not always easy, but it has the potential for unlimited spiritual gifts. (Truth.)
I happen to be ... (scratch that old language -- I have created myself to be) in a marriage with someone who challenges (in a mature, constructive and necessary way), and loves, me greatly. Sometimes, it’s exhausting and I just want to walk out the door. Not forever. Just for relief. But that’s because I don’t always like to face things and I just want to punch him in the face. But I don’t because I do really like his face. (Now it's mostly me standing in the face of my resistance and punching that bitch in the face.)
From the time we met to the day we got married was only 18 months. And we never even lived in the same city prior to our honeymoon.
He is much more aggressive, and I am much more passive and cautious. He is the hare and I am the tortoise. He’s always looking for his keys and his wallet, I always know where the keys are. He is big picture, and I take care of (and can get mired in) the details. I fill out the paperwork and program his watch and all electronics. He is the one who wants to talk. I am the one who needs to be coaxed out of myself. He is all about action and power. I am more woo-woo Spirit/Nature driven. He is very much outward in his processing, I am the classic introvert with my thoughts banging around in my head like a pinball machine. He has no filter. I wear my filter like a fucking suit of armor. (I'm laying down my armor, freedom is where it's at.)
We’ve been married now for 22 years and have essentially grown up together. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing or who we were when we got married. We made a shit-ton of mistakes, and hurt each other, and loved each other and had amazingly gorgeous experiences. We have two wildly wonderful children who light up our sky every day. (So incredibly true.)
By some greater Divine plan, (intention, work and love), it has worked. Not always smoothly, but we are still together. And dare I say, now in a beautiful, more mature, relationship. Far, far, FAR away from how we began. (And even farther still. There is no limit to how far we can go.)
We have spent over twelve+ years working on ourselves and our relationship, mostly with him leading the charge. Much more than anyone outside of us knows.
Sure, early on we spent our fair share of time numbing, running away, looking away, pushing things down, bickering, avoiding…but not anymore.
We have conversations that crack us open, shine a light into a seemingly dark place, and heal what could have remained an insurmountable fissure…
all before lunch.
(Now with much more flow and intention.)
I subscribe to the idea that everything is in Divine Right Order. We are exactly where we are supposed to be at all times. It’s not that nothing is perfect, it’s that everything is perfect, always. When things get tough, we just might not understand and or see it yet. We sometimes forget who we truly are (Love) or can’t always see through our beliefs to the Truth.
In the times where I feel challenged and exhausted by the relationship, it’s my responsibility to remember that is MY perception of the situation. Not the reality.
I have my worldview, and he has his.
The reality is I am supremely fortunate to be with someone who exercises so much patience with me. (And I with him.)
We desperately want to understand each other, so that we can rise through this life together. And raise two more human beings with these principles of what real relationships are and what Love is. (Truth.)
For me, Love is the infinite source of Life. The great field. It is from here where we tap into our power. It is from here that we receive patience, understanding, compassion, and the ability to see through another’s eyes; feel through their heart center. (It is not a thing to be given or received, but a place to come from. An experience. An ability. A way of being.)
(Love is where being present lives.)
There is no building, structure, gospel, doctrine, document or round jewelry that keeps me committed to my relationship.
It is a choice. Every day we have a choice.
A piece of paper doesn’t wipe my tears. He does.
A ring doesn’t give me power. I do. (Yes.)
We don’t stay together out of stubbornness or greed or laziness or fear.
We make a choice every day to walk through this life together. No matter what. To join in communion as One…two like minds joining together to further the growth of a shared experience. (The individual "I" in service to the "We.")
To live through love, to learn, to have fun, to laugh, to feel, to grow, to be free – to FULLY experience and express life with a soul partner.
My relationship is my greatest teacher about life, love and ultimately, realizing my Self through another.
I believe the purpose of marriage is to clear the channel to Love with another person from whom you have the most (or something) to learn. Sometimes, when you’ve learned everything you can from that person, the relationship is complete and you move on. It’s just done. And that’s OK.
I am grateful every day that I continue to learn from my relationship. That we continue to make the choice to walk with each other through this beautiful playground of life.
And every time we make that choice and face each other and see the crack and jump in and shine the light and forgive ourselves for forgetting who we are and chip away at the channel…
We are lighter. And we rise.
Together. In love. With love.
Not always easy. But always worth it.
(While having some fun along the way. I love you babe.)