Part 1 of this post detailed the struggles of merging my pre-wedding life with my post-wedding life. My first and biggest obstacle was figuring out how to go from '100% DIY' to someone's life partner without losing my independent spirit.
When we left off, I was paying bills and giving Mister Man a Ja Rule scowl. Why? Because he reminded me I wasn't alone anymore.
Alone doesn't equal lonely, and I thoroughly enjoyed (and still enjoy) my solitude. However, I was so used to doing things on my own that I didn't know how to share the load with another willing participant. During our pre-marital counseling session, I admitted this out loud for the first time ever. But still, the question remained: NOW what?
Independence as it was taught and expressed to me was about more than being able to buy your own drinks in the club, your own jewelry, or any other tangible item. It wasn't about the one-off things that you can acquire by yourself, it was about a deeper level of self-sufficiency. Hard for me to put into words, but I saw my mom raise three children on her own, move us from a townhouse into a home that was bigger than the one she shared with my father, take us on trips and make sure that Christmases and birthdays were incredible. Even just thinking about my father, who moved to Canada where he knew no one, and still built a life - I used these things to push myself and say, "I can make it on my own."
However, that's me and my typical way of being stuck in history. This is now. I've made it this far on my own, and as a married woman, I'm not "on my own" anymore. I always knew I'd have a great life with the Mr. because he was independent and goal oriented and could take care of his business - but I never thought about how things would work when it was time for us to take care of our business. It's funny, because if the Mr. was the type of man who couldn't do for himself, I likely wouldn't have married him - but I would almost be more comfortable because I could still maintain my role as Empress of Taking Care Of Everything.
It's been a bit difficult to let my guard down, but I'm slowly getting used to sharing life's load. Having two strong people in a partnership is great, but it takes some time to confirm each person's role once the celebratory dust settles. There are things that he's better at, so I let him take the reins. There are things that I'm better at, so I relish the opportunity to make it do what it do, baby. What has helped me the most is to finally reach a level of trust that I've never felt safe with before. I'm not constantly waiting for things to collapse, I'm just enjoying each day as it comes. Letting go of that paranoia has helped me to see that my lessons of independence definitely made me the woman I am today, but don't have to be as rigid as I once thought. An intensely dedicated relationship, married or otherwise, is a living, breathing entity. What you thought on day 1 is not necessarily what you'll think on day 967 and beyond, and for me, with this lesson, that is a good thing.
Whew. Feels good to get that out! What do you guys think? Has independence ever been an issue in your relationships? I may share some other marriage-minded thoughts in the future, so stay tuned!