i'm going to enter territory that i don't actually think i have any right to enter. please, before i do, understand that these are musings, not judgments, and i recognize that i far from understand the complexities of such situations.
but i really don't understand some people's marriages.
a few of them that i have exposure to perplex the heck out of me, because i don't understand how that could really work well, but a few of them make me sad because i think it must be very difficult for one partner or the other to feel safe and secure in such a relationship.
let me just take one that i was introduced to this week as an example.
this marriage is a mixed-religion marriage, meaning that one person is a member of my faith and the other is not. already, this is enormously challenging, especially if one person is committed and active in their faith. i don't understand how people can negotiate that. again, this is really me being "how do you DO that?" not judge-y. some people make it work, and to them i give enormous amounts of credit. i can only imagine that it would be incredibly difficult. some partners are understanding, though, and supportive. that, of course, makes it infinitely easier. the children situation would add additional layers of complexity, but sometimes the partner is equally fine with children being raised in the active person's faith. in situations like this, i would imagine that family life is not tense re: religion.
what about, though, when the active person's partner gets upset/angry/annoyed/insert negative emotion word here about the activities that revolve around church? if you know anything about my faith, you know that we are nothing if not engaged in church work. what about a partner who doesn't want anything to do with church coming through the front door?
i don't understand how partnerships can work when there is such a huge philosophical and behavioral gulf standing between the two. i just don't get it.
for me, it just boils down to having your back. musicboy has my back. frustrated as he may be at times (and boy is he) that he can't do more to alleviate my burdens as primary breadwinner right now, he has my back. he listens, willingly and perhaps too often, to my rantings and ravings about this student or that student or this lesson that worked or this assignment that is taking too long to grade. he may not have an immediate frame of reference (yet...but the education classes start soon!), but he does what he can to understand, to share. i do the same about music. i can't possibly understand the way he does, but i show up to everything and am a willing, happy cheerleader who sends cookies on band roadtrips and who bakes them for band bake sales.
we have each other's back.
i can't help but feel like a relationship that doesn't allow you to fundamentally be who you are, with the freedom to express yourself about everything, could be stifling rather than stimulating.
but i also wonder about people who badmouth their partners in public or who exude this bubbling cauldron of frustration under a (very) thin veil of politeness. or, on the flip side, partners who are completely oblivious to their partner's needs or who don't follow through.
this second set of issues is certainly easier to do, even in a relationship built on friendship, trust, and deep love. we all tune out. we all get frustrated. so, i guess i understand that.
encountering the specific situation that i mentioned earlier has really made me appreciate my relationship with musicboy so much more. i don't need much to make me appreciate it--i love him every day--but i think i have begun to realize how precious it is and how committed i am to nurturing it.
it shows me that i chose wisely, for all of the reasons that have always been important to me but maybe i didn't realize why they were so important at the time. i am glad that i chose him and that he chose me and that we choose each other again, every day. i waited a long time for him, and sometimes i was tempted to choose not so wisely just so that i could make the choice. it was worth the wait. i can't even say that in strong enough terms.
i think i would rather be happily unmatched than unequally yoked. i would rather be single than married but not to a person who supported me wholly. perhaps that's easy for me to say now, but it wasn't easy for me when i was single. it feels presumptuous to say now, except that i was 31 when i got married, and in my world, that is 6 months away from catladyhood. so maybe i can say it with some degree of credibility.
i waited a long time because it was worth waiting for, being married for forever to someone i wouldn't mind hanging out with forever. it's not a pair of shoes, that kind of work with that outfit or that you can only wear for a few hours before they are kicked off and cast aside. life is hard enough. the last thing we need is for the most important relationship of our lives to be something that gives us metaphorical blisters.
and now i will back carefully out of this particularly loaded topic, since i probably shouldn't have been there anyway, and get back to grading.