How I Found Love (Again)It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. ~Sally Field
Recently, my husband and I had several arguments—one after another, each fueled by the prior. This series of bickering pushed me to examine marriage: both the societal conditioning of how relationships should be and a reflection on my own journey in the love department.
I have been married for five years; but up until this past year, I often hesitated sharing my relationship in much depth, beyond the fact that we had celebrated two proms together in high school and experienced a unique journey thus far. Although I knew my husband was my life partner, lover, mentor, confidant—my one and only now and into old age—I was self-conscious about the layers beneath our outer shell.
We were amazing. Then we weren’t. We would be so connected. Then we’d become thrown off. We would be inspiring. And then we would deeply discourage ourselves. There were times during my husband’s layoff, family hardships, and a period where I felt a lack of purpose that caused us to behave severely flawed.
Coupled together we were dynamic, magnetic and resilient. Both of us had lost a parent to the same illness at a young age, and because of this, we had a deep connection and understanding. We were passionate about well-being, a balanced lifestyle and the legacy we would leave for our future family. Our visions and values aligned, yet our behavior would prove otherwise. Our marriage was very colorful; in that, we would radiate both light and shadows on either side of the spectrum.
I could not fathom how such two uncommon beings—with the depth that we shared—had the ability to create frequent sparks of distress. Recently, after an honest observation of our truth, the uncertainty I carried with me was fully explainable:
Living in a country where I was more knowledgeable about how marriages were dysfunctional than they were wonderful, I had allowed myself to become consumed by the confusion. And to dissolve this confusion, I would simply tell myself to be grateful for what we had: I closed my eyes and went along for the ride, wherever that would lead me.
The stats I knew about poor marriages were astonishingly clear: 50% of marriages do not make it. Finances were the number one reason for divorce. Marriage was becoming an overrated entity. Hollywood couldn’t make the institution of marriage work.
Since a young age, I always fought conformity. I rebelled. I experimented. I moved out in high school. I happily embraced individuality and stood proud as a non-conformist, whole-heartedly rejecting the norm. Yet when it came to my relationship, I wanted to conform my husband—us—and the way we projected ourselves.
I was influenced very easily. I replicated a wide-eye, bushy tailed teenager ready to receive the psychology of relationship from any source, family member or friend. I willingly allowed myself to be crafted into a mold designed by the conformity of how others depicted and defined a strong relationship.
My marriage was at the mercy of the outside world, whether a piece of relationship advise from O Magazine or perhaps the appearance of a deeply passionate couple I’d witnessed that day. I would observe the male role on reality TV. I would hear relationship “experts” define—a, b, and c—what real men did and how true ladies behaved. I would watch romantic comedies and the idealistic endings.
I collected this information, stored it away and rationalized these thoughts into analytical, judging words during an argument.
I made the unconscious decision that we should fit a mold. I wanted my husband to fit the perfect little box of the Bread Winner or the Chivalrous Gentleman or Brilliant Exec or Romantic Lover. The random tics of information I had collected about the institution of marriage—successful or not—were so generalized and distorted; yet, they began to unconsciously crowd in my own mind.
With this realization, I made the conscious decision to come back to me, to my husband, to us… to my heart.
I continue to be in awe at what happens when we embrace what we are, instead of fight what is not true to our authenticity. It’s so simple. It’s so life changing. My marriage reality is simply this: our relationship allows me to feel full of life; we have unlimited creativity and the most extraordinary discussions; we have an ebb and flow way of living that is beautiful; we are gifted individuals; we are unconditional; we are different; we are love; we are us.
We have our own unique blend of marriage in the world.
For all the lovers and couples out there, perhaps ask yourself this question: “How is the love I share with my partner unique, beautiful and outside of the box? And can I more gently embrace this uniqueness to enrich my relationship?”
In celebration of Valentine’s week, I’m honored to have a home at TSN, with this opportunity to wish each of you an unconditional journey—carrying your very own remarkable blend of love into the world.
Parting Words on How I Found Love
There is much growth my husband and I still have to do as individuals, and then together as life partners, in a landscape changing from moment to moment. But with each day, I welcome these lessons of wisdom and appreciation.
To reflect and continually grow with meditation, letting go, awareness and forgiveness has allowed us to radiate more light. We can now continue on this journey together—un-moldable, non-conforming to the noise of popular beliefs—being just … us.
I’m grateful to be conscious again. I’m grateful for newly found grace in our marriage. I’m grateful to be breathing, for the first time in a long while, from the inside.
Again, for all the couples out there, consider this question: “How is the love I share with my partner unique, beautiful and outside of the box? And can I more gently embrace this uniqueness to enrich my relationship?”