Monday, June 20, 2011

In Sickness

Our wedding changed things. It didn’t change us, our commitment to each other, or the apartment and life we walked back into after the honeymoon. But the world around us has noticeably started to shift. Family is already treating us differently. We can add Jason to my healthcare plan at work while he looks for a full-time job. And we get to refer to each other as husband and wife, which gives me a thrill in a way that boyfriend, fiance (which I didn’t like using), and partner (my go-to label) never did.

It’s hard to define the difference, but it’s here. Husband and Wife feel unexpectedly solid and substantial. They definitely carry more weight for others, which I first realized when we got sick on our Guatemala honeymoon. (Both of us. Twice.) It felt more urgent and more serious when I was asking for 2am medicine for my husband and he got indignant about unclean facilities for his sick wife. They carry more emotional weight now, with the layoff. It feels different than two years ago, when the record label purged one third of their workforce and Jason was among the casualties. Then, we each talked about how we each were going to pay rent. This time, we sat down and finally combined finances (which we'd been talking about doing for a while), finally eliminating the “you will” and “I will” of our everyday finances. For the first time, it's definitely about what we are going to do. 

But the truly little-big thing that has already changed are our conversations. We’re not talking about planning a wedding anymore. We’re getting excited again about planning our life. As I curled into Jason in my amoeba-fueled feverish state during the honeymoon, we whispered about how we’re excited to get home and start cooking all the meals in our “we HAVE to try this” recipe list and all trips we want to take over the next few years.  As Jason recovered on our rooftoop terrace in Antigua, we talked about wanting to live abroad for a year with our future children, and started to muse about how we can make it happen. As we work through Jason’s job search options, we've both started to talk about our separate and joint career dreams. We know it will be hard - we’re both starting to articulate lifestyle-change dreams that may harder to build than anything we’ve ever undertaken - but we feel energized by possibilities because we're secure in what we already have. 

As husband and wife we’ve already slammed into some major challenges. But I feel stronger now. Life can throw down its gauntlet and I’m ready. Right now, I’m supporting Jason as he works through the job search. And he’ll support me in a few years, when I pull back on hours to have children. And we’re both supporting each other when the fear feels paralyzing and we exhaust ourselves with our projects by reminding ourselves about all the possibilities and promises of the future.  Because this is what we promised each other. And finally, with the wedding past us and the promise as natural as breathing, we can begin to see our dreams take shape, however hard we need to work in the meantime to achieve them.

6 comments:

  1. This is exactly why I wanted to get married to my boyfriend too, who was so much MORE than what the word carried.

    Another beautiful post, Becca.

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  2. I didn't think engagement would change us; we had already been together for 4 years and lived together 2. And yet. We got engaged at 7 am at a resort in Jamaica. Later that day I was putting sunscreen on my fiance's back, and found myself being SO CAREFUL, making sure to get every spot on his super pale skin. I had done the same exact thing the day before, but this time it felt different. I needed to take care of him in a totally different way now.

    I can't wait to see how the wedding intensifies that feeling even more. Thanks for the beautiful post.

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  3. It's good, right?? This is how I felt. And oddly, it gets better...

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  4. Becca...this is beautiful. you're giving me more hope that marriages can be awesome.

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  5. Had I only known, so many years ago, how life can be both so hard and so generous, had I only known to reach out to a partner, had I only understood that we are all in charge, ah, well then. You brought tears to my eyes. I wish you so much good fortune and good will.

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  6. This was a good read for me. I've been feeling so "solo" in my unemployment, new career endeavors and lack of monetary contribution. It's a bad habit form being single for so long - one I can't entirely put down.
    I need to remind myself, and be reminded that it's the team that makes it work, not the just whoever happens to be the financial super-star.
    Thanks for this!

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