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marriage - stronger together or apart?

Updated on October 9, 2010

Do we hold hands to present a unified front, or because we are lost and need guidance?

How do we keep our individuality?

There are a million and one things I wish I knew before I got married. Would I take it back? Not in a million and one days...

I was never a girl who dreamed of her wedding day. One who planned the ceremony and reception out to the last monogrammed ivory napkin and champagne flute. Honestly, the idea never entered my head! It was a far off strange thing that other people did, and I could not for the life of me figure out why? 

Instead my thoughts were filled with travel plans to other places beyond my small world; a camel ride through Egypt, a stroll through a Moroccan spice market, a jump off a cliff into the Mediterranean deep blue sea. My thoughts danced through a piazza in Venice, slept under the stars in Kenya, and rode horseback across the beaches of Peru. I filled my time with friends, and learning, and work that would take me to all the places I longed to see. I saved scrupulously, spending only on shoes that I adored and could not live without. 

I met him once, as he lounged lithely across a picnic table on a beautiful spring morning.  I had a brief thought, "how beautiful," but then he was out of my head. I carried on fiercely independent and with no one to tell me how to live. I was truly happy and knew it couldn't get any better than this... I was young, beautiful, and free. Then he called me, and asked to see me. Hmm... sure, my night was free, it was a lark! When love was least expected, it hit me hard and fast, knocked me to the ground like one of my young, hot-blooded thoroughbreds. The depth of our conversation shocked me to my core, but I shielded myself and closed up.  There was no "man situation" in my plan. My plane for Italy left in two weeks, and I was going to stay for an unstipulated amount of time. Yet I spent every day of those two weeks with him, telling myself it wasn't a permanent thing even as my very soul was entwining itself to his... What could I do? I was confused?!?! I didn't want this? Did I? The day before my plane left I met him in an empty park, and told him what he had feared I would. Don't wait for me. This will never be what you want it to be. Goodbye. It hurt, that last kiss, and I ignored the tears that made both of our eyes shimmer.  I tried not to glance in my rear view mirror at him as I drove away, but I couldn't help it. I turned my music up and drove faster. The plan, the plan. I wanted to keep doing what I was doing...There were so many photos yet to be captured, and so many places left to explore. Yet when he countered, "we can do them together," I had no real argument.His dreams were much like mine.

He was a thought in my head every day. I found myself comparing other men to him as I walked the streets of Rome and Florence. I tried to shake his image from my head as I climbed the Swiss Alps, but it was so much more than that.The feeling that I had never met such a like soul, nor such a gentle one followed me throughout Europe and Scandinavia... I came back just 4 months later. He fought so hard for me; for time with me, for my desires, to hear my thoughts; I thought that probably no one else in the world would love me like that. But why did I see marriage as the end of freedom? 

Five years have passed since that tumultuous battle between my free spirit afraid of being held, and my heart knowing that I loved... I still don't know the answers to all my questions, that is for sure. But I do think it would be amazing to have a shoulder to rest my head on through a long train ride... Or a person to put in my photograph of Stonehenge, or someone to help me drink the carafe of table wine! But yet I fear. I fought the change that is inevitable in marriage, fearing that he was like all the other men who knew that getting married was the only way to get a full-time housekeeper/cook/laundress and regular 'intimacy'.  The necessary concessions and compromises were like fierce personal battles for my independence and my very essence.  NO! I thought. I WILL NOT let this change me. I would not settle. I will not even consider your proposed compromise.  Alas, that was a futile and rather exhausting way to live.  Gradually I opened myself up to the fact that some changes are good, and that if he was causing me to change for the better, then my theory had been proven wrong.  I am one of the lucky ones, however, as my guy has always let me be myself. Never once did he want me to change my sassy ways or keep my opinion to myself. He summed it up once like this; " I love loving you and I even love fighting with you". He infuriates me by telling me how gorgeous I am when I'm mad...His gentleness stopped me dead in my tracks when a herd of wild horses surely couldn't have...Never ever did I dream of what another person can teach you. I needed the compassion he showed me, I needed to learn to show it to others! He is there for me, a rock, still and quite poetic in my stormy life. So though I don't know the answer to my question, "Do we hold hands to present a united front, or because we are lost and need guidance?" What I know for sure is that his hand is always there.


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    • explorer23 profile image

      explorer23 8 years ago from Oregon

      such a beautiful way to paint marriage in a time of ball and chain