-Into the Wild, Lewis Watson
It is hard to fathom that two years have passed since the day that Grant and I eternally entwined our lives together. I don’t think we could have predicted at that moment that our marriage adventure would take us half way across the world to Barcelona. We know each other in an even more intimate, more unravelable way.
Grant and I attended the wedding of two of our close friends this weekend (congrats Amit and Ilana!). We snuck out of the reception dance party for a quiet moment alone to reflect on our own marriage. I thought weddings were emotional events even before I was married, but having experienced it myself now, they have taken on a whole deeper level of meaning – like an acoustic resonance that vibrates my heartstrings.
Swinging my legs lazily over the water crashing on the seashell shore, leaning my head into that perfect place in Grant’s shoulder that makes me feel like we were made to fit together, and gazing out on the light from Seattle illuminating the clouds from behind, we reflected on our relationship. I wish there were a stronger word than “relationship” – what we have is at once a commitment, a partnership, a passionate affair, a close friendship, and a fierce loyalty. After moving to San Francisco without knowing anyone and over our time in Barcelona, we have become each other’s homes, each other’s resting place.
When we look back at our wedding day, the overriding feeling we remember is one of being wrapped in love. We were overwhelmed with the loving response and joy of family and friends from all walks of life coming together to witness our commitment and celebrate with us. Thank you all for being there to share that special moment with us. That is a gift we will to continue to be thankful for our whole lives.
We are compatible, because we balance each other out. While we share a set of core values, we are in many other ways opposites. I am an emotional roller coaster; he is a cool cucumber. I want to confront every possible issue; Grant wants to maintain the peace. I overcommit to social functions; Grant protects his alone time. I plan every detail; Grant wings it. The tension between our opposites pulls each other in just the right ways, in just the areas that are flexible enough to take the stretching. I think that’s what makes it a lifelong match – the flexibility and openness we have towards change in these areas and the taughtness that maintains balance in them.
It is the human condition that it is difficult to maintain perspective. Standing at the altar of our wedding, it seemed that it would be impossible to ever get into a heated discussion about a measly piece of tupperware … yet we have had many disagreements about the small stuff since we’ve been married. By vowing the big stuff of loving each other forever, it seems like the small stuff comes along, right? However, the reality is that the every day small stuff is the big stuff, and it takes work. Grant and I both wish we could hold onto the perspective of the small stuff in light of the big stuff, and when we disagree, to hold out our wedding rings to each other to remember the big stuff.
The big joke around marriage is that it is a ball and chain – a commitment that limits you from exploring other relationships. To me, the boundaries of marriage have opened up deep freedoms in my life. I am free to be fully Meg, fully human with errors, and know that I am loved. I am free to give my all to Grant and know that it is returned ten-fold. To me, marriage is freedom. It is a collaboration that makes both of us more than we could ever be alone.
Listening to the toasts at the wedding, I was thinking about marriage advice. I have only one small offering of learning from Grant and I’s two years together. It’s not about how to prevent fights or keep your partner happy. What has kept Grant and I on the same team is turning towards each other when there is anger, disappointment, resentment, and sadness. Instead of running away, shutting the other person out, we completely lay out the vulnerability to the other person. The two main ways we turn to each other even when we don’t feel like it is laughter and physical affection. In the heat of an argument, sharing laughter is our way of saying to each other, “We recognize that while what is being discussed is important, our ability to find connection at this moment is far more important.” Oftentimes, we laugh that we have fallen into old patterns of arguing habits, or we laugh that we are arguing about something so small as what to eat for dinner, or we laugh because sometimes showing pictures of Grumpy Cat is more disarming than saying “Meg, you’re just hungry.”
Then there’s physical love, a love language in and of itself. Hugging and holding hands when we are mad, or sad, is our way of saying, “I still like you, even if I can’t talk about it. I want to share this with you, even if it’s hard.” It is against our instincts to show the seemingly ugly, vulnerable parts of ourselves, but as Brene Brown says, “vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.”
So onward we trek on our adventure of marriage – two individuals that are constantly changing and forging new paths yet constantly finding their way together. I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend for us.
Grant, I am so thankful for you – it brings me to tears of overwhelming happiness. I love being silly with you, and you bring so much humor and laughter to my life. As a team, we make things happen – we can accomplish what we dream. You are a fount of patience with me – even when I’m irrational. You love my family and friends as your own. You are wise – not just with directions, but with really weighing out life choices. You see me, and you love me. I see you, and I love you.
I can’t imagine my life without you. Every day until forever, I say “I do” to you, Grant.