Just like that eight years flew by since our wedding. When I reflect, I am glad the guests had a good time, but it was a absolute relief when it was over. Funnily, looking back, it was one of the heaviest lows of our relationship. And honestly, at the end, I knew it had very little to do with us at all and so it was easy to move on and leave it behind. The Honeymoon was very much a celebration for that the wedding was over. I spent a lot of time on that Honeymoon boat thinking “thank god it’s over”. I think about that sometimes and I am no longer ashamed to be open about how toxic the entire process was. Trying to make the most of it and have good attitude doesn’t mean it wasn’t toxic and harmful. Like everything, it was a leanring opportunity and I chose to build myself up from it. Now nobody gets to draw lines in the sand for me about what I want or don’t want in my life and I don’t give a damn if they’re mad about it. It is freeing and I wish I had learned it earlier.
But our relationship is what always brings a smile to my face, and that’s been going on for twenty years. Jeremy is my best friend. When I think back through our relationship, it’s the moments he showed up for me and is always fulfilling my need instead of what he thinks I should need. That kind of consideration for who I am is just an absolute treasure and I thank God for crossing our paths. But Jeremy has always been himself – and I have never wanted to change it. I try to meet his need where he is at. Being forced to hide my relatioship with him for 10 years gave us a different perspective on what the relationship is. Like other things, when handed an obstacle like that, we chose to grow through it, despite the obstacle. And while we have been through and navigated an awful lot together – what I appreciate most about our relationship is that we didn’t lose ourselves in the process of partnership. Khalil Gibran’s rendition of what it feels like – It’s spot on.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
– Khalil Gibran
I look forward to all the time we have left together. I hope it’s many many years and we die old wrinkled raisins – but the time we have had has been so sweet and fulfilling so far it almost seems impossible to have it this good. In my younger years, marriage always put me off because the examples I had didn’t like they were worth pursuing. Why waste that much time an effort to set myself up to barely scrape by and be miserable? Like many things, it looked like yet another way to squash many women into unsatisfying roles. I still remember someone had given me a Joyce Meyer-related religious disc and the first track was of a woman spinning her husband and children’s complete disrespect of her time, efforts, and inherent value into a toxic martyrdom trope of “God has given you the opportunity to serve! Your role in the family is that you get to do laundry for beautiful children, and get to serve dinner to a hardworking husband, and get to put aside any of your needs!” and I nearly threw that CD into the traffic as I drove down the highway. This woman was talking about her own life. I knew at every crossroads like that I could become the bitter person who expects others to also bend to the toxicity because they did and how dare anyone else choose not to give up themselves for others. …Or I could be genuinely happy with my life and pursue a path of loving kindness for the person that I was – and in turn be able to love others for who they were not what I expected them to be. I still maintain that I’d be an unmarried happy singleton for the rest of my life if not for Jeremy’s persistent, consistent, and loving care for me – without losing himself in the process or expecting me to change into a different person. He showed me that social structures are not important in the face of real, demonstrated, commited love. That is the magic of my husband! I want to celebrate it forever – because I actually felt valued and loved for the person I was. I hope to make him feel that way for the rest of his and my life. ♥