Crystallised in retrospect, I can see clearly now how it all unfelled. My marriage is a celebration of diversity and the chaos that follows when two people unite. It is a nut-cracking experience. This is the drive-by version.

Somewhere at the start when the hormones were bubbling like champagne, I felt invincible. Deadlines, my IBS, punctuality, existential crises were all by the wayside. I was in the phase I like to call “deadset delirious”. Smitten with my beau. You know the time … messy eating and lactose heavy foods are off the menu for appearance sake. The first touches are over-analysed and super electric. You feel like the only gal in the world. You notice those things about your lover that no-one else could possibly appreciate as much as you (their left ear lobe is 1mm higher than their right and you were born to know this about them). Oh the romance! I’m sure everyone would return to this short-lived season if they could. Unfortunately, it never lasts and for some sadistic reason we quickly move out of this phase towards the next … “edited reality”.

Edited reality eschews the romance of the delirious phase and parks itself on a comfortable, yet very good-looking couch. We transition from hormonal to mainly hopeful. If there was enough good stuff and substance found in the start of the relationship, this season becomes a dreaming time. If you were like me, you spoke in Mensa smart, emotionally intelligent sentences. Still putting that best foot forward; still making the best impression possible. All those sickies you chucked when you watched Dr Phil come in handy during your first disagreements. Speak in “I feel statements” not accusatory language, Phil would say. The time you skimmed through a teen mag and osmotically soaked up the advice about “being the best you” or “what boys like” is recollected with timely efficiency. Sidenote: sometimes fellas really are thinking nothing. This is a great time in your life. You are still you. I am still me. We dream of what it looks like to be us. You just don’t know that I was lying when I said, “I don’t really get that upset about anything.”

From edited reality to the next phase my hindsight has termed “Marriagemas”. You are most likely revelling in this time if you are reading this article. Marriagemas is like your very own personal White Christmas, thus the name. It’s the most wonderful time of the year (your life). Parties galore, enjoyable preparation, the hormones play a cameo role again, frivolous spending, families gather, relationships are acknowledged with romantic ruminating and there is a whole lotta white fluffiness. You know it is only going to last but one day, yet you can’t let go of a sense that earth-moving shifts are taking place. They are! Life will profoundly change.

Fast forward to my second year of marriage and for the first time I actually realise I am indeed married. Like the office moron slow to get the memo, I start thinking about what it all means. (I don’t know what I was thinking about before … probably pondering how people lived before cling wrap). Four years in and I am still examining all the same issues I did on my honeymoon. How do we become one? Is it just like those people who look like their pets? Does it just happen? Why do some people seem so connected and others are struggling to come together? Do we really, truly know one another? Are we better together? Am I still me? In my life I have learned to call this time, and it is ongoing, “The Awareness”. The Awareness is when you finally meet yourself honestly and frankly within the context of your relationship. Much akin to looking into a magnifying mirror, post hot yoga. You humbly greet a sweaty, vulnerable, strong and authentic image. It is life altering. I am not one to perpetuate the idea any person is born incomplete, yet I do believe that others better our life. We need each other to fulfill our dreams. We need it in day-to-day life. We need it like oxygen within relationships. One of the things I crave more than anything with my husband is unity. I just want to be unified. The conundrum for me was that it was something I expected without a plan to get there.

Unity is diversity embraced for the purpose of love.

The idea of unity or “oneness” in marriage has been reduced down to a common idea that we should just agree on everything. So when a disagreement arises, how can we feel anything except separated? If disagreement carries on long enough and deeply enough, Splitsville here we come. It’s a damaging definition. What would happen if we looked at the meaning of unity through a more strategic lens?
“Unity is diversity embraced for the purpose of love,” says relationship expert Danny Silk. The responsibility is then placed upon our actions and not our apathy. I can choose to embrace the differences in my husband and let him grow to be the unabashed and best version of himself. In turn, he can let me be me and encourage me to embrace the things that will fulfill my dreams.

Together we can unite in our diversity to create something better. It’s like mixing paint—blue and yellow are beautiful separately, but together they make green … a new possibility. Sometimes we just need ideas re-introduced in a way that hasn’t been lost in cliché and repetition.

Unity is not uniformity. We are all individuals. Freedom is found in getting to be our true selves.

I remind myself of this when I disagree with my husband. I want him to be himself. If I say otherwise I am actually taking away his own sense of freedom. Should I ever be made to feel changed, or trapped or not accepted it just wouldn’t work. I want my freedom too. I want a life with my husband and a life to call my own. A marriage specialist who I talked with a few years ago during some moody times helped me shift my preconceived ideas of relationships. I am good with words, I am great with definitions and I can talk underwater if it’s too quiet. So when this meek, Marge Simpson type asked me what the meaning of being “trustworthy” was I rattled off a Webster’s definition: integrity, honesty, confidentiality, etc. It sounds right, right?

Well this wizard of wisdom dropped a missile right in my brain when she said, “Your trustworthiness is actually measured by the value you place on someone else’s life”—if you value them you will love them and treat them accordingly. I inherently believe every single person’s life is valuable. So where did that leave me? If I don’t value someone enough, my actions will make me the untrustworthy one. I cannot speak for others, but I want to be known as a trustworthy person.

I also want to be known as a person who embraces diversity. I want to be in a marriage that is united. I want to be a wife who fights for her husband’s freedom. I want to be a person who makes no trade-offs to be in a relationship. I want the next phases of my life to be experienced in full reality with no edits, no crazy hormones (wishful), and no lack of love. I entirely want the same for my husband too. The only way forward is in unity.



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