What do I need a husband for?

September 13, 2008

I have been married for nearly 8 years now, and for most of those years I was trying to find out why. Why was I married? If I remove the need factor, the fear of life factor, the need to be supported factor, the need to be safe, protected, taken care of, as well as the need to be a mother, then what is left? If I am God, complete and unique, fully responsible for my own reality, perfectly autonomous and independent – then what do I need a husband for? I have a friend who is in a serious amount or marriage-trouble. She and her husband are so deeply in conflict that they can hardly open their mouth in the same room without starting a fight. There is so much resentment, anger and pain between them that it seems absolutely irreparable. It seems that all they can do to save their sanity is to run away from each other as soon as possible. I talked to my friend recently about the situation, she would tell me story after story about fights, arguments, hurts and tears. As I listened to her it occurred to me that all this trouble comes from the fact that neither of them seems to be willing to take responsibility for anything. By taking responsibility I don’t mean admitting guilt, confessing wrong – I mean ownership. Neither of them seems to be able to say: “this is my choice, this is my decision”, even in the most trivial of situations. Neither of them is willing to be themselves. What they do is depend on each other. What they do and say depends on what the other did or said. What they feel depends on what the other did. What they can accomplish depends on what the other feels is available. Nothing depends on themselves. They are both very intelligent, very successful and very capable people, in other areas of their life. Not so inside of their marriage. I asked my friend why did she marry the guy in the first place? She said he was different before the marriage, that he changed. And I realized, as she said that, that she was right. Until then I firmly believed that “oh, but he was different then…” is just about the lamest excuse ever, but as she said it I realized that she is probably right. He probably did change. So did she. I know from my own experience that it is not easy to remain who I am in relationship. It is not easy to be present in any relationship, but especially the romantic one. It is not easy to remain who I am when all the trauma from my childhood starts acting up, which seems to happen about a week after the relationship begins. It’s not easy to remain present and not follow patterns of being in relationship I learned from my parents, to not follow the cultural training of dependency I’ve received throughout my life. To be myself, fully autonomous, fully independent, while in relationship with another person, with a person that is this close to me, to be fully and completely responsible for who I am and for the reality I am creating when in every moment of every day something gets triggered, another level of insecurity opens up, another hidden pain comes up – it is a constant practice. It is a practice that requires a deep commitment. The choice to be who I am, to remain present, to remain myself, fully responsible for myself, my trauma, and my reality. The choice to be open as who I am fully and completely with another person – and to hold space for him to do the same. This commitment, this choice, is the meaning of marriage for me. In such a relationship neither of us needs saving, comforting, helping. In this relationship there is only freedom and reflection that allows us to grow and develop as who we are, without limitation.

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