Day 15 - Marital Bliss: Fact or Fiction?
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
Well the wedding was amazing! The bride looked gorgeous and the groom handsome. They were surrounded by the people they loved and those who loved them back. It was a perfect night. I was honored to be there.
This is the second Tribal wedding and there is a third on the horizon. I was super nervous about the first one not because I didn’t believe that Jefe and Banana were meant for each other but because, selfishly, I wasn’t sure of what would happen once one of our tribe was married off. Women have a tendency to be single minded in their focus. Not leaving a lot of room for other things when they have a primary relationship. But I worried for nothing, I should have known that Jefe would lead us in her usual manner: quiet competent grace. She added in a husband, two step children and an ex-wife and her man to her immediate family and didn’t even bat an eye. In they came, she made it look like they had always been there. I love that about her, she has this amazing ability to add to her own life and this grace to make it seem like whatever has just been added has been there all along. There are no visible hiccups, no mini or major issues, just BOOM, "I am married and these are my new people. Let’s get on with this living thing now that we have these new awesome people!"
I was not so concerned with losing The Tribe this time around. Jefe put that to rest a while ago. This time, I was much more welcoming to the idea because it was free of angst and anxiety. Peaches pulled together what seemed to all of us this random, somewhat disjointed idea for her wedding and made it look seamless. The New Orleans Jazz band meshed perfectly with the 1920’s flapper/cowboy themed wedding. It was so her. And like her, so much fun. Cheers to the happy couple. May you forever remember how deep the love and joy was last night!
MFJ and I are the only single Tribal members currently. We were each others dates and I think had a pretty good time in that role. We both recognized the joy of being there single as well as the sadness that comes from attending coupled events alone. What it brought up for me was the disconnect I have always felt at these events single or partnered...even my own wedding.
I do not think that I have ever attended an event with a man where I felt comfortable. Well maybe there is one. I remember going to this New Year’s Eve party with Lane and that night I felt like I think it is supposed to feel. I was in love with someone who was in love with me and I didn’t even notice there were other men there. He was my whole world and being there with him made it so special.
As I looked around last night, I saw a few couples that seemed to also feel that way. From my perspective, I saw a lot more of them that did not. I also couldn’t help but notice how many of the older couples where the man treated the woman like she was ridiculous. The women were exuberant, if not a little tipsy, and were enjoying the lightness of the evening. These particular men seemed bored. Like they forgot their own vows and were there to fulfill an obligation. Their wives seeming trivial in their joy. Several of the men made comments about their wives behavior in a condescending way. It made me wince for all the times I have been on the receiving end of those words. It made me sad for how we humans are given the gifts of partners for life and manage to fuck it all up with contempt, ignorance, fear and neglect.
What came to me last night was this idea of celebration. Not just the big wedding ones. But the million little ways that women and men can celebrate their partners. It cut me to see that life long partnerships were less than loving. Sitting where I am right now, I guess I really needed some encouragement to keep going. What I saw instead was that which I fear most: marriage ending in being stuck with someone out of obligation and fear.
Now, I have no idea that what I saw is accurate. Maybe it was an off night for these couples. Maybe what I observed was colored by my own perspective and place in life. Regardless, I saw it. That place where humans taking something magical and life sustaining and shelve it for some fucked up sense of righteousness or fear or whatever.
It left me thinking: why is it that some couples seem to have that thing that lets them continue to fall in love with each other every day and others seems to only allow themselves to go so far in and then stop and say that is enough? How could one ever have enough love? Is it a choice to allow yourself to fall more in love with your partner every day? Why was it that I saw a few couples that seemed to be there together - fully engaged and present for each other while other couple seemed to be phoning it in? Is it just me? Do I just see what I want to see or is this really how it is?
What it left me with was a gap in my internal dialogue...a place where I do not have an answer to my lifelong question. What is it that makes people willing to love someone with their whole selves? Why do we stop ourselves from going further? Why do I like to believe that I am the person that loves with abandon when all of my love relationships prove that I am a half measures person?
Here is what I have currently. I think those people who love their partner with all that they are - are the ones that did the really hard laborious work to love themselves first. They are not afraid of getting lost in another because they know exactly who they are. Fear does not reign supreme because there is nothing to fear. They know who they are and who they picked and are just simply in. Knowing their own limitations and those of their partners, love moves freely back and forth without scoring keeping, derision or blame. It is something that is held lightly but respectfully in the space that can never be shared between two people.
So far in my life, I haven’t been able to do that. I have not been able to pick a partner that was capable of doing it either. I did not love me really so I got the kind of partner that was frequently embarrassed by my behavior, couldn’t reach out to me when I needed them but couldn’t ask. I have not loved men that were all in because I did not possess that quality myself.
So attending the wedding last night was super helpful in my personal evolution. I was able to see clearly what was attractive to me. I was able to see the results of relationships that I myself have created in the past. I was able to see that being alone was really the better choice for me today. I do not know that this year alone will make me any different and more partnerable. However, I do know that I am growing. I can address the pain of my solitude. I can address the joy of singleness. I can sympathize with the feeling that we all want to love and be loved but often fuck it up. I can be affirmed that life and love and lust and commitment are sometimes incongruent and elusive. What I walked away with last night was a quiet acceptance deep inside me that I am ok as I am. Single. Alone. Unpartnerable in my current state. All the while with the hope that my work will lead me to understand and love myself enough to someday be able to get out of my own way and love another truly, deeply, madly.
My ultimate conclusion?
Marital bliss does exist but it doesn’t just happen. It isn’t a prize that is easily won and kept. It is instead a momentary gift of the present that can only be kept when one gives it away. This takes effort, guts and stamina. Blood is involved. Pain is involved. Heartache is involved. But if you are truly willing to do the work, I believe you find yourself in another and that might just be worth the work...