It's not the same, so now what? (an anniversary post, part 2)

Continued from my previous post.

I ended my last post by saying that we're dreaming again in our marriage.

But let's be honest, unlike the dreaming of our earlier years we carry a lot with us at this point. Sometimes it feels like we're encumbered by relationships. But in truth these relationships are the fulfillment of earlier dreams. The ties that bind are also the ties that support.

We also feel restricted in our options by financial obligations. Obligations that favor certain kinds of work (the better paying kind, specifically) over others. Once we've finished raising the kids, which we've done until very recently on one income, we have to save for our old age.

My work will play a significant role in this goal, and will also hopefully broaden our travel and adventure horizons.

August 2019

So we have relationships to tend (but what is life without relationships?) and financial needs to meet (as does everyone) as the basic framework for our future. The form that takes shape around that frame - the life we build post-child raising - will be an exploration and response to various questions.

Here are a few:

What kind of environments do we find most life-giving and energizing to be in? How can we live there or spend significant amounts of time there? What kind of work do we find most fulfilling that meets the goals of paying the bills now, travel and adventure, and saving for our old age? How can we support each other in doing that work? What areas of society do we feel called to contribute to, and serve?

We're answering the questions we can now, and leaving those we can't on the docket, for another day, another season. Because there are always unanswered questions.

There's a kernel of vision again, there are dreams being born. This time it's not a path in which I follow the leader, unfairly placing the burden of my personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and sense of security on someone else's shoulders. This time it's a side-by-side road, which sometimes takes a little bit of maneuvering and negotiating.

I'm a little hesitant to share this because maybe in the future I'll come back and be like, "that didn't work out so well".

It's happened before.

And it will probably happen again. I have no guarantees.

As far as the writing goes, I'm more concerned about being honest to my experience than being right about the path. Though ideally, I'd like both!

I don't know how it will all shake out. I don't know which of our dreams will become goals and then plans. And I don't know which ways of looking at the world and marriage will come back to bite me in the butt in the future.

(I'm reminded here of Christine Lavin's "What Was I Thinking?". My favorite anthem song for life's decision regrets.)

What I do know is I have a partner with me, to walk this journey, to try different ways of "doing marriage" and doing life. Someone committed to me, not an idea or philosophy of marriage, but me, the person Renee, through the changes. I can't ask for more than that.

This is the kind of marriage I celebrate on our 23rd anniversary. One that grows and changes. Where a life is lived, and children are raised, dreams are cast and pursued, and sometimes abandoned. And new dreams are laid out and worked towards. Where the certainty, the little that there is in life, is not in "how" we do it, or what religious, societal, or cultural tenets we follow, but that we do it, day-by-day, season-by-season.

I've been listening to a new-to-me podcast recorded here in Montreal called Spirits & Spirituality. One of their shows is an interview with the co-founder of Just For Laughs comedy festival Andy Nulman. I love what Andy shared as the secret(s) to his 35 year marriage.

(We've) grown together, we've grown in certain places apart, in other places really close together... I play hockey, she loves photography. She cycles, I go to the gym... There are certain things we do apart but we understand we need the apart and then there's the together.

...whenever there was a hassle... a problem... it's you and me. It's you and me against the world... I got your back, you have my back. And you're the only person I really fully trust to do that.

You change. You definitely change. And if your changes can be not just in sync, but accepted, because they're not always in sync, then that's the... recipe for lasting relationship.

It's never going to be the same. But that's the greatest part.

You go ahead and say, "ok, it's not the same, so now that it's different how do we enjoy the different".

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  • Abby

    Abby on Aug. 19, 2019, 11:45 p.m.

    Renee, I so appreciate your honest words her, much of it resonates for me. It seems part of mid life for many of us, perhaps- re-examining marriage and how it works (and doesn't), (maybe especially for those of us who married young?) as well as the rest of the package of life. Not fun, for sure, but I'm hopeful for the next steps.


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