The way to learn yourself is to tie yourself to one person for the rest of your life!
I have been married for just under five months and I have learned more about myself in these months than in the year of courtship I shared with my now husband. Actually, I stated that incorrectly: I have faced myself more while being married than in all the years of my life.
The act of yoking myself to one man for the rest of my life has liberated me in numerous ways. I am free to be my unique self with him; I am free of the arduous task of looking for "the one"; I am free to enjoy the most wonderful and intense intimacy; I am free of the worry of abandonment or loneliness. And, now, I realize I am free of something that I've clung to for years... delusions.
I have always prided myself on being an advanced-type of female. I thought that because I grew up a tom-boy, enjoy tearing things up and getting dirty, and am an engineer - I thought that I was better equipped to relate to men. I regaled myself as the best type of woman - feminine yet tough, expressive yet logical, traditional yet evolved. I was always quick to quip "I feel more comfortable with men than women because I think more like a guy."
In ways, that statement is true. If being able to comprehend theories and systems that are not tangible and expressed by mathematics with more symbols than numbers is to "think more like a guy", then it's true. If being able to apply a logical process to identify the root cause of a problem is to "think more like a guy", then it's true. If what drives a person is efficiency, effectiveness, and fact is to "think more like a guy", then I say it is true that I think like a guy.
I have been led by this way of thinking and identifying myself for all of my life. And even though I know I experience the traits that are identified as universally female - emotion, fear, sensitivity - I believed those experiences to be minimal and secondary to the logical and pragmatic life I've led. Now, I realize I have been deluding myself.
Marriage has shown me that although I may simulate "male thinking" as an engineer, within the workplace, and with my preferences of leisure - I DO NOT THINK LIKE A MAN. Hours and hours of conversation with my husband have proven this to me. The fact that I have peeled away at every layer of this idea is proof enough. I have learned that feeling/emotion and sensitivity are neither male or female traits - they are human traits. A strong man feels everything that is within their trusted zone. A strong man shows emotion to only a few that have proven respectful and trustworthy. And a strong man that can deflect the barbs of any Joe is struck sensitive should those words be slung by someone he loves. I know this because my husband is a strong man.
Through marriage I have learned that I deluded myself with the notion that I was especially fit to understand the male because of my history, my profession, my appreciation for order. It may be true in the workplace and playing field but not within an intimate relationship. Once intimacy is introduced I am unable to restrain myself to the clean lines and radial progression that define my professional life. The act of loving someone so unique and so different from yourself removes all rules and order. The act of loving someone for a lifetime stretches logic to limits never before experienced.
This act of loving one person without retreat or surrender exposes everything for each person involved whether you intend to or not. I have seen things of myself that I have only acknowledged silently in the far corner of my mind and quickly tucked away emerge within the pressures of marriage. I have seen things exposed that I had no clue existed for me. I have seen things that I hoped I had resolved and sadly shown I hadn't. Marriage is the great discovery of self. No book, no meditation, no journal will show you what marriage exhumes.
I say all this out of realization. I am not placing judgment for or against marriage with these words. I simply understand that marriage is the ultimate journey of self discovery. And I suspect that marriages fail - not because of too many differences or dissimilar goals/expectations - they fail because one or both cannot face the exposure of self.
There is nothing fun or easy about being exposed... but, if there were any reason to willingly engage into full exposure of one's faults and frailties I'd say that doing so in order to realize greater peace and understanding with the ONE PERSON you want by your side for all your life is a good enough reason to me.
8 years ago