I’m an over sharer. I try not to be, but when it comes to matters of the heart I haven’t mastered the art of saying too little yet. Thankfully, my over sharing has so far worked out favourably. I find in sharing and sounding out my thoughts, I inadvertently expand my learning and reflecting. This challenges my perception and awareness, leading to emotional maturity.
Recently I’ve been reflecting on marriage and my definition of it. I’m coming up to my 2nd anniversary in six months time and so far marriage has been a big period of adjustment as you’d expect. Though, not as daunting as i’d imagined.
As someone who often felt conflicted about marriage. Wanting it, but on my own terms, which really involved the concept of an arms length union. Not too involved, but present. I knew I would face basic challenges.
And sure enough one of my greatest challenge is space. I love people, I love my family and friends. But in truth, I have my limit of how much interaction I can take in any one go. I love my own company; space to reflect, cloud watch, zone out, not be on a timer is vital to my sanity.
However when you are married with a child, space can become like an inexpensive luxury that continues to elude you, despite it being in great supply, apparent! As we mere portals spend 22.3 per week, averaging 50 days per year watching TV.
I tend to live in my head, especially when it’s impossible or unlikely I’ll have the physical space around me to reflect at the time I need to. With a child, a shared bedroom (forever) and one bathroom, where do you go? Especially in winter!
Is this what God intended? I found myself asking recently. When he said two become one. That you suddenly have a shared sense of space on many levels with another human being. You are free, but bonded to co-existing until death do you part.
For some reason my mind conjured up a metaphor of an apple. I wanted to say grapefruit but it’s such a sour fruit in nature, consciously linking it to marriage, felt over negative. So let’s link marriage to an apple. My reasoning, went something like this:
“I am an apple and in preparing and accepting the choice of marriage, I will lose half of who I am. Half of all that makes me who I am, selfishly and unselfishly. But having been forewarned, I get to take all the bits of me that I really want to keep and stuff that into the half of me going into marriage, in order to merge with the other half of my soul mate”
I know, I know! I am a drastic thinker. “Deep” is the word often used by my friends I believe. Explaining my crazy, yet totally visual metaphor to a newly married friend, she challenged my thought process straight away. Her response was simply “maybe seeing marriage as a predefined thing is the problem”
Whether it’s a fruit, object or set of rules. Each half comes with their own notion and definition of marriage, often based on teachings from our ancestors or ideals we have somehow deduced as fit for marriage from our own observations growing up. But shouldn’t marriage be an individual thing?
Sure there are foundation truths in relation to the success of any marriage, I. e communication is vital and never go bed angry….honestly, don’t do it.
I concluded this from our conversation: essentially marriage is a case of two become one. But in becoming one, you both together, have the opportunity to define and redefine a marriage that reflects who you both are anytime you want throughout your lifetime together.
In looking at marriage from this standpoint, there is hope and a sense of adventure for the journey and the outcome. So yes I do need space, I crave it. But it hasn’t been taken away from me. I just need to refine it within my marriage.
And in doing so, I can be fully be myself. Managing my time and space to reflect who I am, my interest, character and separating out a time for us and a time for me. That sounds a more balance view I think.
Here’s what I say to me writing this and you reading it, marriage isn’t like an apple, it’s whatever we want it to be. The version, shape or opportunity drawn together by two becoming one!