I fell in love with my husband because of who he is. Not who he was. Not who he might be. Not who someone else might have wanted him to be.
Because of who he is, at his very core. I see him, and I love him.
I’m pretty certain the same holds true for him, of me.
We fell in love with the versions of us we are now, because of the things we do, how we interact with ourselves, our world and each other, and what we’ve experienced so far in this lifetime.
And, people change. Life changes. Influences, experiences and opinions all change. We either get better, or we slip away from ourselves, shift out of alignment with our core and lose sight of our true North.
I know. I’ve done that a few times already. Once, it was in a marriage. Once it was just me, grasping for a truth I was too afraid to see.
But I found my way back to me, and then I just moved from there for a long time. I waited until I was clear about who I was, what I was up to and I who I wanted to share that with before choosing a life partner.
And so did he.
And so we got married so we could keep being us—only, better.
And we are.
And we are also, slowly, figuring out how exactly to maintain our individual selves in all of that. We’ve got two kids to raise and share with two other people, we each work full-time and have side gigs, committees, commitments and passion projects and large networks of friends with whom we connect regularly.
It’s easy, really easy, to get lost in that space. That pace of doing, moving and tasking.
It’s easy to forget who walked into the room that first day. It’s easy to let things slide away; it’s harder to keep them all at your core.
I want to have a me outside of him, and for him to have a him outside of me. Connected, empowered, supported, but not dependent, burdened or obligated.
Good. Better. Best.
When I’m operating at my best, my schedule is flexible, but full. My days are filled with yoga, exercise, people, events, travel, writing and work that lights me up. My evenings are full of cooking, preparations, friends and family, a cup full of something warm or calming and words and rhythms that fill my heart space. My rest time comes through and after movement; my energy is replenished by sharing it. This is how I take care of me, so I can take care of others.
But my husband works just a bit differently. Like me, he loves to be with people; the words of others inspire and teach him, and his yoga practice serves him well. He writes, too, and travels, and goes and does and sees and helps and connects. He enjoys his friends, but he also really enjoys solo down time. Quiet space that has just him in it. His energy is replenished by resting. That’s how he takes care of him, so he can take care of others.
Neither of these are better than the other. They are just different, and of utmost priority as we establish this new life together. In the merging of our lives, it is essential that we maintain our individuality. We get to learn to balance our time without letting the agenda of one overrule the wishes of the other.
It’s not a simple task, but if I don’t have the spaces and places to be me, I won’t be able show up authentically at home. If he doesn’t get the room and permission to be him in his way, he’ll stop feeling seen and loved and welcomed to be who he chooses.
In order to grow and be as “we,” we must still keep feeding “me.”
I fell in love with my husband because of who he is, and I get to keep letting him do him.
Author: Michelle Sweezey
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Author’s Own // Jem Yoshioka/Flickr