I like being married.
No, I love being married!
And not just the last three weeks, though they have been great! I loved being married before. I like having a partner. I like sharing life with someone. I love making a home with someone.
I’m also not well suited to being a bachelor. Partly because, as much I need my alone time, I don’t like being alone for long. This is the dilemma of a people-loving introvert. There was a time after my divorce where I thought I might be the swinging bachelor type. I am not. I was told by a woman I saw briefly in that period, “there are guys you marry and there are guys you fuck. you are the first type”. At the time, desperately wanting to be the second type, I took it as an insult. She didn’t mean it as one. I don’t think…
I’m assuming she meant that I’m the kind of guy with whom you can have long, meaningful conversations, share laughter as well as sorrow with, and that I’m generally good company.
That’s how I’m gonna take it.
In any event, I’m better as half of a couple and it’s nice to be that again officially.
I’ve been thinking about writing this since the big day and I’ve stopped myself on a couple of occasions. Other things have come up about which I wanted or needed to write. That’s part of it. But there’s also the fact that this wasn’t my first rodeo.
I got married… again.
There are almost unavoidable temptations to compare the first wedding to the second, the first marriage to the current one. That seems unfair to both my current and ex wives and yet it also feels somewhat inescapable. I don’t want to dishonor either, especially my ex.
I have a friend who refers to his first marriage as his practice marriage. It makes me laugh every time, but it’s not a sentiment I can share. A marriage that produced two amazing kids can hardly be called “practice”.
No, my first marriage was just that… a marriage. Filled with more joy than pain, more laughs than tears, more good times than bad, it ultimately ended because in some ways we both stopped being an “us”. I take most of but not all of the blame for that. It takes two to tango. When one person wants to keep tangoing while the other wants to start a waltz… I’m not going to continue on with this metaphor. You get my point.
I don’t regret my first marriage in the least. Yes, I got married way younger than I would advise most people to get married, but I don’t think that was the problem. We both changed. I don’t think we changed together. And I don’t think we particularly liked the ways the other changed. And we didn’t talk about that enough.
She might disagree with my diagnosis. <insert shrug emoji>
While I don’t consider my first marriage “practice” I bring a lot of lessons learned into this new phase of life. I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I need in a partner, and what I have to offer someone else. I’ve also learned a lot about my own capacity for selfishness, apathy, and cruelty.
I think the most important thing I’ve learned is not to be scared of big emotions, mine or my partner’s. Shannon has big emotions and expresses them in big ways. I love that about her! There’s was a time when it would have been “too much”. I would have felt smothered. Now, I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather be smothered by…
…I stand by that statement.
I’m not afraid of my own big emotions either. Some things make me really angry. Some things make me laugh uncontrollably. Some things make me cry now that would have gone unnoticed only a few years ago. I’m growing comfortable being someone more oriented toward feelings than thoughts, a big shift for someone who always liked to be thought of as cerebral. I love that Shannon can pull feelings out me, even if it is a slow, tedious process at times.
Our couples therapist said to us that getting married again after all we’ve both been through was a major act of hope and faith. Maybe. I see what she was saying. It would be easy to be calloused, hardened by unmet expectations, disappointment, and betrayal. To make yourself vulnerable to yet another person after you know how badly you can be hurt is difficult.
But faith and hope imply a lack of empirical evidence. We’ve been challenged a lot over the last couple of years, some by our own demons, some by outside circumstances. We’ve managed to forgive, love, and reconnect through all of them. I’ve learned more about grace through Shannon than any scripture, sermon, or commentary could teach me. Together, we’ve learned that we can overcome just about anything as long as we stay in the room with each other. So yes, I take the strength of our marriage on faith, but it has also been tested and proven strong.
I write this shortly after our second batch of wedding photos has arrived. It was a perfect day. We invited only folks who know us as couple which made some friends and family (mostly mine) pretty angry, but I hope that those who were angry will take the time to get to know us as a couple.
The pictures remind me of the perfection of the day. It was a day full of love and family, and friends, and laughter, and good food, and drinks (lots of drinks), and grace, and yes, hope. Hope that two broken people could come together to live one life. Hope that two broken families could come together to be one, big, silly family. Hope that the demons of the past would not be the obstacles of the future.
I love being married.
I love being married to Shannon.
I love our family.
I love our life together.
An right now, I love life!