On Marriage

First of all, I apologize for not writing in a while. Someone I deeply care for read something I wrote and was hurt but it and it shook me. After a few weeks off, I am sitting in front of the blank page simply because I must.

So much has happened since my last, overly confident, entry. I could say a lot has changed, but I don’t think it has, necessarily. It’s more of an uncovering. A brushing off of that which has always existed but has been buried deep under the utter bullshit of good and bad, right and wrong, acceptable and not.

Over the course of the last six months, I have been meditating on the possibility that I no longer wish to be married.

To be clear, there is nothing dramatically ‘wrong’ with my marriage. My husband is a kind, caring, attentive, brilliant human. There is no abuse, no neglect, no emotional violence, none of the acceptable qualifiers for having these thoughts.

During this period of uncovering I have come face to face with the honest to God truth: I have built my marriage on the foundation of making another individual the happiest person in the world.

What’s wrong with that? You might be asking.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that… I don’t exist in it.

Somehow, over the last 10 years, I have managed to convince myself that what makes him happy is exactly what makes me happy. I’ve allowed myself to subscribe to the two become one, live a life of silent desperation, compromise until you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror fundamentals of marriage.

Now, don’t worry, I’ve always been a rebel and always will be. Although these oppressive narratives have been playing in the back of my mind, the broken record hasn’t stopped me from doing what I want. I’m stubborn as hell. This old record has followed me as I’ve taken a job out-of-state and moved away from him for a full year,  as I’ve lived in Bali for 2 months, as I’ve gone on a 10 day silent Vipassana retreat. I’m living my life, yes. But I’m living my life in spite of my marriage, not because of it. I’m always the one leaving. The one walking out the door with my bags packed.

My kind and gracious husband, though uncomfortable with my proclivity for freedom, has not tried to stop me. He knows that stopping me would mean losing me. And for him, he’s built up such an addiction to being made to feel like the happiest man in the world, he’ll do anything for another fix. I take full responsibility for creating this dependence in him. Why would he not feel this way? His life looks exactly like he has always wanted it to. He has a great job that he loves, a passionate, smart, and beautiful wife, the ability to walk into a store and buy weed, an adorable dog, a lightning-fast internet connection.

You might think that all the personal growth and expression he has witnessed in me over the last decade might inspire him to push the envelope and dive head-first into his curiosities. It has not. If anything, it has created the opposite. He has become the complacent anchor, holding down a fort that would stand solidly on the ground without his watchful eye.

Without ever intending it to, my marriage has started to feel like a tether. It has nothing to do with love or security or need. I keep returning out of obligation.

It is so scary and liberating to write that.

What I want to know is what it looks like to create a marriage that expands, not contracts. I want to know if it’s possible to create a container that feels more like a recharge than a reprieve. I don’t want to be the pen at the bank. The one that is tied to the counter and can only be of service at a safe distance.

I want to be able to change. I want to be expected, encouraged to change. I don’t want what I wanted 3 years ago to have to be exactly what I want for the rest of my life. I want partnership not prisonship. I want support not stifling. I want expression not expectation. I want a starting block not a finish line.

I want a marriage that supports my breath not just the air around me.

 

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