I remember being a newlywed and feeling for the first time like I had reached adulthood. We shared money, closet space, and friends. Where we went, what movies we watched, and even what we ate was by consensus. I gave up my own identity, but I was glad to trade it in for “wife,” which I thought was the mature thing to do.
My engagement and wedding rings were badges I wore proudly to mark my status to the world. “I am married!” they announced. I marked “Mrs.” in the little online checkboxes.
As the years went on, the novelty of being “wife” wore off and was replaced by the day-to-day routines of married life. Drew saw me with messy hair and no makeup and ugly pajamas and he loved me anyway, but I missed being “new” and having the chance to remake myself as I matured. We didn’t talk about it, but it became apparent that he felt the same.
We gradually moved apart, each of us trying to be our separate selves within our marriage, wanting to be not just husband and wife, but man and woman. Some people’s marriages are fluid enough to absorb the changes of its two partners as they mature over time, while others are too fragile to withstand anyone casting aside the roles that were set in stone the day they said “I do.”
The Lebanese writer and artist Kahlil Gibran said of marriage:
“…let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love;
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
Drew and I got married and we got divorced. You can read all about why we didn’t make it in Giving Myself Away.
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