Once the champagne has been opened, the frothy goodness run down your arm and dutifully been scoffed- what are you left with? An empty glass. A vessel that needs to be cared for to avoid breakage and like a marriage, consciously filled up with intentions that grow love and intimacy.
A wedding can be at times like the hype around pregnancy and childbirth – you’re glowing, getting loads of advice, believing this fallacy that you can have a birth plan that actually goes to plan?! Then after the big event, you’re exhausted and shell shocked, the happy hormones wear off and you are left holding the baby, leaving the hospital wondering WTF do I know about babies….
Do I sound pessimistic? Yeah, probably. And moreover a fraud because I’m gonna come right out and say it…I’ve never been married. But I have been in a long term relationship for 11 years, have two sons and wear an engagement ring because I proposed via t-shirt on the dance floor on our first night out after our son was born, my beloved accepted and was given a trucker’s cap written on it “I said yes!”. Our big day is a work in progress. We’ve secretly discussed if we make it to 40 years, then that is a reason to celebrate. I am no matrimony anarchist and hope to one day join its halls.
Typically many of us have road tested a few less-than-perfect relationships before finding who we feel is ‘the one’ (no pressure), the one that we feel at peace with, makes us laugh and share common goals. This is a comfortable feeling and can feel very grounding, like finding the pale grass underneath your feet upon which to build your future. But in reality, every relationship is a road test. There is no certainty a marriage will last. I feel being present to this idea helps me be an active participant in my relationship and not retreat into fantasy or apathy.
If you wanna hog the wheel and dominate the direction of the car, your spouse may resent you over time. If you sit with hands white knuckled on the steering wheel, preempting any potential problem, influence or person that could upset your blissful bubble, before too long it will be burst. We need to get comfortable with not always knowing where the car is going. This is life after all, not a perfectly pressed white shirt. We are going to get dirty and scruffy around the edges at times. It has helped me to see relationships as organic living entities that exist in a space between each of us, a reverent place that needs to be respected and communicated courageously, not muddied with fear and judgement. It takes conscious presence.
All I can say easier said than done.
And as part of life’s suitable irony this wisdom tends to only come through heartbreak’s battle scars. Be them through one relationship you forged at the tender age of 20 and had to defend, fail, learn and grow over time; or be it through multiple attempts, some better than others, but all serving the purpose of bringing you closer to who you really are and what you truly want and deserve.
This is no small topic and it’s very nature means it exists on the frontier of all things pointy. Being vulnerable, courageous, joyful, digging deep and letting go of always having to be right, in control or knowing what’s best. The ultimate journey of self discovery, that ironically (again) we share and co-create with another.
So here’s to the beginning of a conversation about getting real about relationships. Please feel free to post any thoughts in the comments below.
Let’s get this party started without smashing too many glasses!
Thank you for joining in.
By Amy Wilson.
Image by Sandra Henri Photography.