Today is my two month wedding anniversary. I am very excited because I can tell you that each day I am more inspired to love fiercely, forgive easily, express my range of emotions often and marvel at the opportunity that this life has given me. In honor (and celebration) of today, I will be answering a question that came in through the “Ask A Thriving BrideA bride who comes to the altar with challenging circumstances that are often, but not always connected to her family of origin. She understands that this makes her a "Different Kind of Bride," but embraces "different" as an opportunity to be "distinct" and not "diminished." Instead of assuming these circumstances will not allow her to have her wonderful day as she has always imagined it, she re imagines what wonderful can look like and becomes creative to create an amazing event with her partner. Throughout this process, she honors her feelings as they come up, while honoring how amazing she was to survive and live, and focuses her attention on throwing a bad ass party (and life) with no regrets. Question” link on my bridal blog. If you have something you want to ask or say, you can write to me about weddings, marriage, family dynamics, etc. It really doesn’t matter. I just want to keep this dialogue going, and see if our collective energies can help create more sustainable partnerships, weddings and families. In recognition of how your support and connection to what I am saying inspires me, today’s post will answer a recent question I received:
Dear Thriving BrideA bride who comes to the altar with challenging circumstances that are often, but not always connected to her family of origin. She understands that this makes her a "Different Kind of Bride," but embraces "different" as an opportunity to be "distinct" and not "diminished." Instead of assuming these circumstances will not allow her to have her wonderful day as she has always imagined it, she re imagines what wonderful can look like and becomes creative to create an amazing event with her partner. Throughout this process, she honors her feelings as they come up, while honoring how amazing she was to survive and live, and focuses her attention on throwing a bad ass party (and life) with no regrets.,
My question is a simple one: what’s the secret to finding a life-long partner?
Dear Thriving Reader,
Thanks for asking. Your question is simple, but the answer really forced me to think a lot about my own experience and open up and share my own doubts and insecurities as I built my relationship with my now husband. But, I do hope this story about my honeymoon and our relationship will help answer your question. I can’t say it’s “the” secret, but I can say it was “my” experience and it worked.
During my honeymoon, I spent a lot of time looking at the ocean because it represented a certain kind of calm. There were also many occasions when I got to watch watch my husband rock back and forth in a hammock and clutch a book to his chest as his sun glasses slid off his face and the breeze whisked him away to a long needed nap. This is the poetry I have been writing these days. These are the words of deep thankfulness and rich experiences with my beloved.
I think being a Thriving Wife is about taking the time to realize (and act accordingly) that, husband, sweetheart and every other name I could come up with for him is also now my beloved. Let me explain because it is different and I am experiencing just how unique it is.
When I met PJ, he was my friend and then he became my boyfriend and then he was my fiance and now he is my husband. If you aren’t really into titles and names, then you don’t have to care what I call him, but I definitely care. As I mentioned in my bridal blog, there are countless engaged couples that do not get married for one reason or another. And guess what? We did! Every time when a friend asked how we were doing with everything leading up to the wedding, I would always say “We still want to marry each other.” For me, this was important because there is so much stress that goes along with weddings and many couples do choose to end the relationship before they say “I do.”
And so now, we have crossed that bridge, signed all the right dotted lines, committed our lives to each other (and to each other’s communities) and there was no way we could have done all of this without becoming each other’s “beloved.”
Basically, PJ is my husband and my beloved. The process we have gone through to get to this point and the ways we have chosen to deal with the challenges along the way makes him my beloved and him mine. You see, being beloved is based on giving another person the opportunity to truly love you for who you really are so that you can ” be loved” by that person. I believe it is often hard for couples to make it to the altar because one person is not willing (consciously or not) to become beloved. Let’s not kid around here, it ain’t easy.
When I met PJ, I was not ready for him to see all of who I was. Again, to become his beloved I needed to “be loved” by him for who I truly was, which meant I needed to let him see who I truly was. Here’s where it stops being so fun. We all talk about love and finding someone who really loves us, but are we ready to reveal ourselves not knowing what the other side of things holds for us? We can reveal and get hurt and we can reveal and get love. It is up to us.
Once I was willing to be fully loved for who I was (scars and all), then PJ had the opportunity to see me clearly and decide to love me. And when he did, I had the opportunity to see that here was someone who was willing to take me straight off the human store rack and take me to the counter “as is.” Don’t get me wrong, I know that I have a lot to offer someone who is willing to see it, but we all doubt ourselves and unchecked self-doubt can lead us to hide behind it so much that we don’t see the possibilities staring us in the face.
I’ve said this before, but I want to reiterate that I am not a therapist of any kind but I do have a story to tell and I am writing all of this down in order to help myself and if I can help you, then that’s even more fabulous.
In truth, I also hope Oprah reads it.
At my wedding, a good friend asked me what my secret was when it came to seeing, loving and marrying Peter. I hope she is reading this because I’d like her to know that the secret is this: be ready and willing to become a special someone’s beloved and vice versa. This may all seem pretty simple, but it takes some work. Are you ready?
Note: I am not advocating that you jump into a relationship and reveal everything about yourself to someone who has made it clear that he just wants to have a few beers and take you to his condo on the beach during your vacation in some coconut scented island. Sorry to break it to you, BUT HE IS MOST LIKELY NOT YOUR BELOVED. I might be wrong, and if I am and you do fall madly in love an end up returning to that beach for many anniversaries to come, DO SHARE YOUR STORY WITH ME.