11 years ago last night, I got married. I had just turned 27, and I thought I knew everything. Well, if not “everything” I certainly thought I knew a lot. With my parents, relatives, and friends’ parents as models, marriage seemed like an answer to all my prayers: Life with my soulmate. Yay! What could be better?!?
Turns out, a lot. A lot could be better, and a lot could be worse. When I made the commitment to marry, I made it blindly; and I think we have to in some respects. Marriage is one of the only (if not THE only) partnerships in which there is no definition within the contract. No assigning of roles and responsibilities, prior to signing the bottom line. Marriage is a commitment made in faith. Pure and simple. It is made with a belief in hope, faith and love. Not many people tell you how much work it is. Perhaps if they did there would be fewer marriages — then again, perhaps there would be less divorce, too.
In looking back on eleven years since making that commitment before friends, family and God…I feel confident enough to finally say that I knew nothing, and what I know today, more than anything is that marriage takes a commitment to several things. First and foremost, however, it takes commitment to yourself. Something I had never actively considered before. But now I have learned that without that commitment to myself, I couldn’t possibly begin to understand what it means to commit to someone else. Nor could I grasp the depth and breadth of work it would take to unite two independent and individual souls, with different yet similar goals.
And yet, knowing what I know now – I wouldn’t change a thing. My marriage, my relationship with my soulmate, has brought me more opportunities to know myself and learn about myself than I think I ever would have had otherwise. It is one thing to stand naked in front of yourself. It’s quite another to stand naked and see yourself through someone else’s eyes. All the beauty and flaws become more apparent. All the defects and tresured gifts become clearer. By allowing myself to be known by someone else, to be raw and vulnerable, I have given myself the greatest gift imaginable: the gift of understanding and knowing who I am.
So, 11 years later, I find that my marriage is measurable in so many ways, but perhaps the greatest is in my relationship with myself. At 27, I knew only what it meant to commit to someone else – and even that was romanticized to some extent. At 38, I know what it means to quietly, peacefully, and humbly commit to myself. Would I have learned this without getting married? Perhaps. But why look back in wonder, when I can look at the present with gratitude.
Therefore, I say: Happy Anniversary…..to me!!