Saturday, February 6, 2010

That Which God Hath Put Together

Yes, I know the rest of the line--"let noone put assunder".  And I completely and adamantly agree with the rest of that line.  But it is the first part of the line I'm thinking about today.

I love my husband sooo much!  And I am so very grateful that God brought us together so early in our lives.  I love spending time with Bryan--he is my best friend.  And I love our life together!

But if there's one thing I've learned (don't worry, there's more than one lol ;-)) in the past (almost) two years of marriage, it's that Bryan and I must maintain our separate senses of self in order to have a happy, healthy relationship.  Now, I'd learned that (the hard way) when we were dating.  But I think this lesson is so much more obvious when you're NOT married.  OF COURSE you need your own identity and life because (as I've actually heard someone say) after all you're not married yet!

The folks who think that marriage=two lives merging completely into one make me chuckle.  And they make me worried for them as well.  Yes, in many ways, marriage is the merging of two lives.  Bryan and I have started our own family.  While we love our families and inlaws, WE are the core family unit in our lives now.  Finances have been merged, as have pretty much any paperwork-based aspect of "real life" that you can possibly imagine.  Also, we ARE married--which means that we are bonded together emotionally and spiritually on a level that we don't share with anyone else.  In these ways, and in many others, we do share one life.

BUT sharing one life does NOT mean all aspects of that life are shared equally NOR does it mean that we are now one heart, one mind, one body lol.  Work, for example.  We do tell each other about our days, and we both have great teams of people we work with.  But I can't truly share the victorious feeling Bryan gets when he finally gets a design to come together, and then gets to build it and see his design come to life.  He can't share the incredible exiliration I feel when, after working and working, I see the light switch flip inside a student's head and see their eyes light up with understanding.  For each of us, these experiences affirm us as individuals.  I think me going to my gym and Bryan going to his is another good example of us maintaining individuality--while we are both supportive and proud of each other's efforts (and tell each other that regularly), it is nice to have time to focus on yourself and improving yourself. 

Alone time--or rather, time away from each other--also does this.  Today, for example, Bryan is on a ride with his SOT brother Ethan.  They're heading up to Sam Houston State Park, and probably won't be back til this evening.  Which leaves me with a whole day to myself!  I'm catching up on my blog (obviously) and will enjoy some time on the Wii.  I'll probably go to the bookstore later, and maybe grab a bite to eat while I'm out.  It will be a wonderful day where I get to reaffirm myself as, well, myself.  Now, all that said, that doesn't mean that Bryan and I LOVE spending time away from each other--quite the contrary.  We actually love time together and have a blast in each other's company.  As I said before, we are each other's best friend.

But, it is good for Bryan to have a day with the boys, or a day in the garage wrenching on the bikes.  It's good for me to have a day with the girls, or just time to myself.  And while I admit, I still get kinda bummed out when I don't get to go on a ride or when Bryan is in the garage instead of at the bookstore with me, I have come to know that it is much better for us--as individuals and as a married couple--to maintain our individual senses of identity.  Afterall, a marriage cannot be healthy if one partner's identity is consumed by the other's, nor can it be healthy if both people are consumed by the relationship itself--the perception of who they should be according to the titles "husband" and "wife" (though, thankfully, Bryan and I really don't have any problems with that lol).

A healthy marriage is a partnership between two individuals, balancing each other's strengths and weaknesses, and facing life together in the process.  That's what Bryan and I both wanted out of marriage, and what I'm happy to say we have found with each other.  Of course, by "found" I don't mean our relationship or marriage is a finished product--it will always be a work in progress, which makes it all the more important to retain and nourish our individual selves while at the same time working together to ensure our partnership, our marriage remains loving, open and strong.  And I know I sure wouldn't have it any other way!


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