Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Good Marriage

I got married for the first time when I was 23. It was a novel concept and being an adventurous sort I went for it. I was very proud of my marriage in those early days, proud of the idea that I had become married. It was not a state I had aspired to, growing up I never actually imagined myself married. I had never given much thought to what made a marriage work or what I even wanted from a marriage but I forged ahead within this cage of normalcy. Being married gave me some credibility I thought, street cred. How bad could I be, I was after all married. Of course when you are married you become well acquainted with the person you are married to and over time people change and grow and as I got older my attitude about the whole thing evolved. I was less proud of the marriage and more hampered by it, I found it confining. The sameness, the expectation, the unchangeable roles of husband and wife. After 15 years I got out.

During the period that I was single I had a lot of time to think. What I realized during that time was that I really enjoyed the companionship of men, I did not want to be alone but I was not in a big hurry to get married again either. When I met Mark I made a conscious effort to just simply be with him and have no expectations of what was supposed to happen. I watched as he showed up regularly in my world, we had a great time together and I felt strongly that I could spend a lot of time with him without any trouble. He felt the same way and after about 18 months he proposed marriage. I accepted but I felt nervous too, was I committing myself to this confinement again. We talked a lot about what we both wanted from marriage and came up with the idea that we were like 2 sovereign nations. We were both independent, self supporting, self actualized nations coming together in a spirit of cooperation. Neither nation needing the other for survival but rather identifying the benefits and comforts of certain combined efforts. I liked this, having just regained my independence and sense of self I wanted a union that would support and enhance my freedom not dismantle it over time. Mark was away in the South Pacific during this time and did not return home for 6 months after his proposal to me. It was a hard and sad winter, but I got through it and we got married about 2 months after he returned home, 2 years after we initially met.

In the early months of the marriage I suffered a little. Feeling lost again in this idea of marriage, thinking I needed to assume a different role from that of girlfriend or independent island state. I talked to Mark about it and of course he was fine with the idea that I preferred the girlfriend concept over the wife concept. And so we continue as married people (for almost 5 years now) who are wholly committed to one another but with a level of separation that suits both of us. If I had to make a visual for the relationship it would be of two overlapping circles and where the circles overlap there is a lot of vibrant color and activity and where the overlap ends there is still a lot of vibrancy, just in different hues.

1 comment:

stacee said...

What a lovely read, Rowan -- though this is always true of your blog.

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