Sunday, March 8, 2015

Revisiting Conscious Coupling



 March Marriage Challenge
I originally published this piece about a year ago, not long after Gwyneth Paltrow & her husband Chris Martin had just announced their separation. Only they were calling it a Conscious Uncoupling. This got an awful lot of press for being a very unusual and new-agey sounding way to say "we are divorcing". 

Today would have been my parents' 42nd wedding anniversary. So much of what I learned about love and marriage came from watching them. I wanted to honor them by revisiting this piece for The March Marriage Challenge

Paltrow & Martin's split happened just before we were to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary. And while all the talk was about what it meant for a marriage to break up, it got me thinking about the very idea of marriage. More to the point, why my path had led me down the aisle when I could just as easily have skipped it.

Sheesh! Lots of talk on the interwebs today about consciously uncoupling. Who's doing it & what the hell does that even mean?

Eh, no one here in Toddlerville has a clue about that stuff. 'Round these parts we are all about the coupling that was solidified 3 years ago today. That would be Hubs & lil ol' me - Serendipity.

I won't bore anyone will all the delightful wedding details. (5 hour open bar!) I will admit, however, to being outshone at my own wedding by the cutest attendant EVER - the darling Boy, then 10 months old.

Now, some folks would say we did things a bit backwards. Some would probably say we eventually did the "right thing."  I can say with certainty lots of people didn't understand why we were doing it at all. Frankly I would imagine that whatever most folks thought, they reckoned we got married to "legalize" our family.

Of course, there's truth in that. But as beautiful and amazing as my Boy is (or any kid, for that matter), he's no reason to take the plunge into wedded bliss.

In case you're not a regular (of the blog or the bar), Hubs and I met in our local Irish pub in Queens. At the time I was one half of another couple. So we were friendly, but not friends. I can recall three honest-to-goodness conversations over the first year or so I knew him.
1st: about the tandoori chicken he was making on BBQ Sunday.
2nd: about trivia night & my possibly joining his team (never happened).
3rd: a heated discussion about baseball. He is a naturalized Mets fan & I'm a life-long Yanks fan. Yeah... As I recall we rarely chatted for a long time after that one.

Eventually I uncoupled, moved a bit further away & didn't frequent the pub as often. Then yada yada yada... I got a new iPhone and we started spending time together.

Yep, I just yada yada yada'd right over that.

Yes, the iPhone is important. As it happened, he was one of perhaps 4 people I knew with an iPhone. Two of the others were other friends at the pub. They all hung out in their spot at the bar, playing on their phones and talking about apps. Now I would maybe be put off, but 5 years ago it was kinda endearing. Particularly because they were all Irish & weren't gadgety type guys.

So when I got an iPhone I realized I had a reason to chat him up. And the rest, as they say, is history. Without speaking for Hubs, I knew pretty quickly I never again wanted to wake up without him.

For her part, my mother always told me to marry someone who I enjoyed even when we were mad at each other. She would tell me the truest test of a relationship is if you can argue & make up & truly move on.

Which reminds me of a fight we had early on. Hubs was literally grabbing up a bunch of movies he had scattered at my place - basically taking his toys and going home. I remember telling him that he was being silly. We were arguing, not ending. He could leave, but we weren't done by a long shot. I have no idea if that moment stayed with him - but that was it - I knew. Ya know?

The fact is marriage should be a conscious coupling. We had options & marriage wasn't the only, or easiest, one. As the vows often say, it's not something to be entered into lightly. Hubs & I married because we wanted to stand up, in front of all the friends & loved ones we could gather, and declare that we were on this path Together. 

Marriage is a union, a joining of lives and families. So while it was strange to lots of my friends, it made sense to me to take his family name. Frankly, I hardly considered NOT taking his name. 

Did it all make some things easier, legally? You bet. 

But what mattered is just this: I am able to say we are married, he is my husband. These words carry a whole different weight in our society than to say he is my partner. Or my lover. Or the father of my children. Or my best friend. 

He is all of those things. And So. Much. More. And THAT is why we got married. 

I don't know, maybe it's me, but I think that's kind of why anyone wants to get married. Am I wrong? 
*Any reading of this post as either a social or political statement about marriage equality would be solely based on the reader's bias & not the author's attempt to draw such parallels. 
**Not to deny I'm 100% in favor of marriage equality & sincerely don't get why anyone would be against it. But this post is just a little riff on my own choices on the occasion of my 3rd Wedding Anniversary. 

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10 comments:

  1. Great post!! So many wonderful points about how every day your relationship and what you put into it is a choice

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  2. Wonderful! I loved this!

    My mother told me, "When it's right, it's right!" The Husband and I waited three years before deciding getting married was what we wanted. We didn't just do it because we had a child together. It was a decision that just seemed right, a symbol of what we were more than a legal contract!

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  3. The husband and I eloped after 4 months. (We were babies who just turned 18). We will be celebrating 21 years on the 16th of this month. He's still my best friend, and I love saying he's my husband. Loved this, thanks for sharing. :)

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  4. Great job, I love it. :)

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  5. Love this, you are so right that marriage should be well thought out, conscious, choice. And your mom gave you some great advice, even when my hubby and I are fighting, all I want is to be close to him and lovingly address our issues.

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  6. Love your mom's advice. My husband and I would argue but would quickly get over it and not hold a grudge. None of my previous relationships were like that.

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  7. Love that the bar (& iPhone!) brought you together :)
    Great story - thanks for sharing! And Happy Anniversary!

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  8. Reading this made me feel so connected to my own idea of marriage. My husband and I waited a very long time to make it to the altar. Well I should say he made me wait, I just knew we were meant to be. I loved that you and your husband became connected through your social lives and fell in love. You make your conscious coupling what it's meant to be, a wonderful place to emulate your love and respect for one another. And to raise your children in this healthy environment is a gift. 💗

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  9. When I was younger, I swore I would never get married, never take my husband's name, and be the breadwinner, but many years later, I was happy to get married, take my husband's name and eventually stop working. Marriage is not for everyone, but like you, I felt it would be nice to get married and make it official. I know a few couples that have been together for more than 15 years without getting married and it works for them, but they do what married people do - they stick together when times are tough. Love this!

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