At the age of 31, my husband and I will be married for 10 whole years next December. (Go ahead, do the math, it’s not that bad.)
While on one hand, it feels like time has passed in the blink of an eye, on the other hand, it’s almost laughable when I think about how much we have gone through and how much we both have changed in those years. I’ll never pretend to know anything about marriage, but there is one thing that I am absolutely certain of:
I am not the woman my husband married.
And I’m guessing you are not either. Well, obviously, you’re not the woman my husband married (I hope), but you get my drift. We pledge our lives to one person and that vow can either make or break us. In some ways, marrying one person is depicted as a rather sad way to slog through the rest of your life. But as a famous best-selling author pointed out, no man ever really marries “just” one woman — he’s actually married to several women throughout his life, and it’s an amazing privilege to be with any of those amazing women. #truth
Dale Partridge, an entrepreneur, farmer, TEDx speaker, business coach (um, for major, major businesses), and author of People Over Profit, recently shared a post on his Facebook page about all of the women that he has been married to in his life.
Partridge tugged on the ol’ heartstrings of cisgendered married couples everywhere who may have worried at some point in their lives if they were missing out by only being married to one person forever:
“Men are so worried that marriage will leave them with ‘only one woman’ for the rest of their lives. That’s simply not true. I fell in love with a 19-year-old rock climber, married a 20-year-old animal lover, started a family with a 24- year-old mother, then built a farm with a 25-year-old homemaker, and today I’m married to a 27-year-old woman of wisdom. If your mind is healthy, you’ll never get tired of ‘one woman.’ You’ll actually become overwhelmed with how many beautiful versions of her you get to marry over the years. Don’t say no to marriage, say yes and keep saying yes until the day you die.”
Partridge’s post obviously resonated with a lot of people, as the post has currently been shared over 287K times. His commitment to marriage is obvious in many of his other messages as well, including urging the married men he works with to always ensure that their commitment to their careers never hurt their wives or their marriages.
I have to admit that I’m not usually one for all the mushy-gushy posts about marriage, but the idea that we carry many different identities with us through our marriages is one that really resonates with me. For example, my husband and I were discussing this very thing last night and when he asked me how he had changed, my mind went blank. It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint the tangible ways we change, but I think of it kind of like how we watch our kids grow up.
Taken day by day, the changes are subtle, small, sometimes easy to miss. But then you wake up one day and it’s like your baby has become a teenager overnight. And it’s sad and awesome and overwhelming all at the same time, but what other choice do you have but to just go with it?
I know that my changes, as a mother, are pretty obvious. I’ve gained about 30 pounds for one, I am more stretch marks than skin, the bras of my past are but a distant memory. Emotionally, I am changed forever. I am calmer in some ways, more anxious in others as the fears of the world no longer pose a threat to just me, but also my children. I no longer believe in the silent treatment with my husband or expect him to fix my problems, but I also sure as hell believe that sometimes, going to bed angry, just to force you to stop saying things you don’t actually mean, is an excellent strategy. I love more, feel more, hope more, and hurt more. My heart has been broken through miscarriage and pieced back together with scars. I am still learning a lot about myself and my husband and I feel like our marriage has grown right alongside of us.
In short, I know I’m not the same person my husband said “I do” too all those years ago. But that also may not be such a bad thing after all.
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