Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cultivating and Maintaining Your Self in Marriage

Matt and I tried to cram ten parties into the span of 2.5 weeks right before the holidays. Needless to say, but the 7th one (which was on a school night at like 9pm), I was a little less than enthusiastic.

But then something happened. I went to the party and had some really good conversations. The kind of conversations that make you realize things and say smart things and make you laugh. The kind of conversations that better illuminate your life trajectory.

I came home (around 11:30pm) totally inspired. I started looking through my old journals (which reading and writing workshop teachers call "Writer's Notebooks") and realized that I have started to lose cherished pieces of my identity.

I remember reading once this idea that marriage is like fitting two pieces together. In order for those pieces to fit, each piece ends up getting losing a little of its original shape. As they rub against each other, the corners get rounded and the edges change. I feel a little like that.

There are so many ways that I am a more awesome person because of my marriage. Matt and I have created an amazingly satisfying life together. But there are also ways I am losing snippets of myself that matter to me. Snippets of my self that I do not want to lose.

I think the trick is to identify those aspects of self that I want to maintain--to hold them in my hand and separate the lint from the treasures in my pocket. Then I need to put the treasures back in my pocket and reach for them often.

For one thing, I need to go back to maintaining a Writer's Notebook. I still have a notebook, but it's more like an uninspired collection of to-do lists and grocery lists. I need to get a Moleskine Notebook (and then use Modge Podge to put some really cool stuff on the outside of it) and dig out my colorful Sharpies.

I also need to cultivate new friendships. It's so easy to go back to Matt as my default because we enjoy each other's company so much. But that's a little like overdosing on Clementines. Too much of a good thing is really not a good thing.

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suzewearsshoes said...

The thing I find myself doing, which is concerning, is blowing off potential engagements with friends because I don't want to lose out on time with the boy. 'But.. if I go to the cinema with them then I can't watch it with him. I don't want to miss out on that!'

What I need to remember is that I don't want to miss out on my friends.

It's a work in progress.

carolineAlexander said...

I love your writers notebook idea.


Megilon said...

For me it is because he is military and I know he will be leaving for a chunk of time so I won't see him. But my friends will be here.

It is a hard balance sometimes. And I think women have a harder time with it in some ways. But as you said it just needs to be a focus. Good luck!

Color Me Green said...

it can be such a struggle to balance a relationship with friends and personal projects. i can never figure out it! do you know of any books or blogs giving advice to this problem?

Color Me Green said...

it can be such a struggle to balance a relationship with friends and personal projects. i can never figure out it! do you know of any books or blogs giving advice to this problem?

miss fancy pants (the bride) said...

Yet another balancing act that comes with marriage. Love the idea of the writing notebook!

A-L, said...

I think that a relationship always requires a balancing act, whether that's in maintaining old friendships, cultivating new ones, participating in hobbies, or other interests. When we find someone who jives with us so well, and gets us, and has fun with us we want to spend lots of time with that person, and are willing to let those other parts of our life slide for the pleasure of their company.

I think there is a delicacy to starting to set some kind of boundaries so that those parts of yourself are not lost. A worthwhile struggle.

Amanda said...

oh man, i totally know what you mean and i was thinking about that the other day too! but you put it into better words, i hadn't gotten that far!! i'm for sure picking my journal up more now, it's been too long since i did. great post!!

GalFromAway said...

What a neat concept - a writer's notebook. I'm going to have to investigate this further... Any tips you may have for starting one, I'd love to hear them in the meantime.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ GalFrom Away: I will try to post something about using a Writer's Notebook on my personal blog: feedingthesoil.com. Thanks for the suggestion!

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