Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This weekend I picked up the book Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert.  [I joined the Millionaires Club at Books-A-Million - can't wait!]  Today on the train I finished the second chapter.  It provoked some pretty serious thinking for me.  I know, dangerous, right?  Seriously, though.  I finished the chapter and really reflected on her words.  The end of the chapter she talks about people's expectations for marriage:
Life is hard work and work is hard work - I'm quite certain they would agree with those statements - but how does marriage become hard work?  Here's how: Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life's expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. (pg. 48)
Whoa.  That is heh-vey.  I mean it!  Do we put so much into our spouses, fully expecting that they are going to be the one and only reason for our total happiness?  Yikes!  

I thought about this one.  Long and hard.  I thought about my expectations for my marriage and future with Matt.  And you know what?  This is not how I think: "...we should somehow be answerable for every aspect of each other's joy and happiness.  That our very job description as spouses was to be each other's everything" (pg. 49).  I don't expect Matt to be my everything.  I'm not putting all my happiness eggs into his basket.  I expect him to work as hard as I do at continuing to grow in our relationship and to make sure that we are meeting each other's needs.  But I am more responsible for my happiness than Matt is.  It is up to me to recognize what I'm not getting or doing or whatever and fix it from my end.  

Maybe this is because of my age.  Maybe it's because I've always relied on myself.  Maybe it's because I've always been a strong and independent person.  Maybe it's because I'm an introverted, introspective, deeply philosophical person (ha ha).  Yeah,'s probably just because I'm old and after pouring everything I had into past relationships and then losing myself entirely when they ended, I realized that my happiness depended on me.  No one else. 

I am capable of being happy on my own.  With or without someone else.  Having someone else (Matt) to enhance and deepen and share that happiness with is awesome.  But I can achieve it on my own.  And I think that's why Matt and I have always had a pretty easy way in our relationship.  Cuz he's the same way.  While we love our time together and treasure the moments we share as a couple, we also enjoy our time apart.  I like escaping to the window seat in our bedroom, putting on some of "my" music, and reading a good book while Matt plays Tiger Woods on Playstation in his "man room" (with lavender walls, crack me up!).  I'm proud of that.  Better yet, I'm proud of us.  And I think (and hope) that we will continue this way and continue being happy - with, within, and without each other (for brief periods of time, only, of course!). 

This is, of course, not to say that I wouldn't be devasted if our relationship ended.  It killed me when it was briefly suspended a few years ago.  But that is when I learned this valuable lesson - I will survive.  While I invested time, energy, love, and whatever else into our relationship, I still had my sense of self.  I still knew who I was.  I didn't have to spend a year traveling around the world to "find myself" (a la Eat, Pray, Love).  I never let myself completely become "us" or "we" - it was always very important to me to understand that I needed to have that me-ness in tact at all times.  Because things happen.  Like it or not. 

I can't wait to delve deeper into this book and keep reflecting on our relationship and why it's soooo awesome. 

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