I recently mailed a congratulatory engagement gift to a dear friend, and included a note that said “Marriage is the best! We would know, we’ve done it for two months.” Kidding aside, I really like being married. I am surprised by how much I love calling B my husband. I like saying it dramatically, drawn out with a southern twang, and a sassy little shoulder pop. I’m pretty sure he likes it, too. (Though maybe less so when I say it this weirdly in public).
Andy, one of our wedding ceremony Reverends, was spot on; When it is right, you do wake up feeling different. A little giddy, youthful, and in awe of this magic. Naive, but brave; the same, but transformed.
My first marriage was... not right (to grossly oversimplify). I remember waking up the morning after our large wedding, steeling myself more intensely than ever for the day ahead. Layering on my masks of all-is-well. Mustering up the phony smiles and “I’m so happy!” pleasantries that would be, naturally, expected of me at a post-wedding brunch. Every day was like this for two plus years. Armoring up. Hiding. Pretending, and out right lying to the broad majority of people in my life. It was not like this for just me, either. My then husband did not play the role of naive, oblivious partner. Not in the slightest. He was painfully aware of the broken, irreparable energy between us; of the resentful, distant, vibrations I leaked into our home and shared existence. I somehow managed to be both transparent and secretive in my deceit, painfully cognizant of his tender awareness yet choosing to limit us both all the same. It was a terrible time.
I’ve never tried on a full firefighters uniform, but I’ve been told they are quite heavy. I imagine they’d have to be, considering what they are built to withstand! This is what I wore every single day for what seemed like forever. I felt tiny and raw and stupid and cowardly. I felt fake and ashamed and slightly, manically crazed. I hated myself. So I pulled on my heavy, burdensome uniform, hoping to feel protected. The more my ex tried to love me, the more layers I piled on. The deeper I withdrew, the more hurt I doled out with disgust for myself. And you know what? Those suits may do the job within a blazing burn, but it only left me sweaty, tired, uncomfortable, limited and sad. Seriously. So, so, so sweaty.
Listen: It wasn’t his fault. And with time, space, therapy, and two individual stories blessedly taking far happier turns...I learned it wasn’t mine, either.
It just wasn’t right.
But this time? This time it is. This time it is a choice fiercely, openly declared over the course of 6 blissful, challenging, awakening years. On December 17th I woke up feeling giddy, youthful, and in awe of the magic. I also woke up feeling sleepy and comfortable and hungry for the bagels being delivered by my dad, wishing B would brush his teeth because of the cigars he enjoyed the night before. For some reason this realness feels important to note, too.
I guess this was all important for me to write out for a couple of reasons. First, as a grateful nod to my husband of two whole months (said with sassy shoulder pop + southern drawl, of course). I love you, I thank you, I appreciate you. You are so funny and playful and sweet. I really love being your wife.
But I also want people to know that the path of love looks different for all of us. One souls journey is not the story of another’s. Your truth ain’t gotta be my gospel, and vice versa. I want the person who may not have gotten their intimate relationship “right” the first (second, third, or fourth) time to see how very possible it is to not only try again, but to succeed. I want the person who is armored, ashamed, or flailing under a sweaty cloak to know that while disrobing from the suit is most certainly, frighteningly difficult, it is not necessarily going to leave you exposed to a scarring flame. In fact I’d argue that if the intention of undressing is both freedom and healing for all, then getting naked in your truth just might turn the blaze of shame into a soft, welcoming light waiting to guide you home. For what it's worth, I think this is true across all of life. Not only in partnership.
If you’ve followed my blogging journey at all over the past several years, you’ll know that marrying Brandon was not the result of some big ol’ stroke of luck. A bit of luck? Sure. The mystery of timing will always amuse and confuse me. But my joyful wholeness is mostly a testament to a hell of a lot of work, effort, reflection, travel, conscious choices + changes. It is the treasure born of forgiveness, acceptance and letting go.
I so deeply wish this for each of you. If you have it - keep at it. This is some of the work most worth doing. And if it is your soul’s desire - keep at it, too. You are most definitely worthy of the giddy, youthful awe of magic.
From our wedding ceremony…
For you, there'll be no more crying.
For you, the sun will be shining.
And I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right.
To you, I'll give the world.
To you, I'll never be cold.
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right.
And the songbirds are singing, like they know the score.
And I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before.
And I wish you all the love in the world.
But most of all, I wish it from myself.
And the songbirds keep singing, like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before, like never before, like never before.
Do Good, Be Well, Keep Loving,