On Monday, Jer and I will have been married one year. It’s a spectacular achievement. Jeremiah has learned to put up with his coy wife’s roundabout communication, and I’ve learned to tolerate my frank husband’s unmatched socks (and unfolded T-shirts, unmade bed, unwashed dishes, unclosed cabinet doors). Together, we’ve shaped a little nest at Pie in the Sky. We’ve built a family of two with a language, culture, flavor, atmosphere all its own. We share inside jokes and private grudges. We swallow each other’s needs and spit up our personal vulnerabilities. We wear each other’s faults and flaunt each other’s graces. By marrying Jeremiah, I’ve come into possession of his tenacity; however, I’ve also inherited his melancholy. In turn, Jeremiah owns both my gentle mercy and my incapability to say “no.” We are each other’s very best friend as well as each other’s most severe puzzlement.
Oddly, if I’ve learned anything from being married the past year, it’s that spending time alone without your spouse is a-okay and, actually, essential.
Marriage is consuming. More than that, Jeremiah is consuming. As a youngster, I swore against marriage, leaving slight wiggle room with the clarification that if “he” was really, really, really something I might consider marrying “him.” When I met Jeremiah, that “might” turned topsy-turvy somersaults and righted itself in the position of an affirmative “will.” An hour after meeting Jeremiah, I’d already decided that “he” really was something and declared, “Geezum crow! I will marry that red-headed Vermonter if it’s the last thing I do! Golly-go-diggy! I will!” And, here I am: married to a genius with dreams the richness of Vermont’s mountains and passion the vastness of Vermont’s winter. Here I am, consumed in Jeremiah, but, really, where am I?
Lately, Jeremiah has been stupendously understanding, an absolute hero in the art of deciphering female emotion. We’re on vacation right now, at the end of week one of two weeks off. I’ve spent the past few days wordlessly staking out my territory. I am, regrettably, the queen of passive aggression, and since Monday, I’ve been slamming shut cabinet doors left open by my husband, hurmph-ing my way to my side of the couch, and speeding away from him on my bike. Finally, when I declared no longer having “needs” and promised to spend the weekend doing my “own thing,” Jeremiah asked what was up. “Grace, you wanna tell me what’s going on? You gonna tell me what’s got you all miffed?”
The truth is that as much as I love being the wife of this man that I admire, as much as I love supporting my Mr. Goodbar, as much as I love changing my life (like taking only a few classes at a time, working less hours, considering a new job, driving Jeremiah to work) to meet our needs, … I sometimes feel swallowed in us. I feel wonderfully apart of something. I also feel terribly without identity. It seems to me that all human beings feel two chief desires: 1) to be somebody and 2) to be a part of something. Marriage can provide a fulfillment of the latter. If healthy, marriage should also provide the nurturing needed to fulfill the former. However, in the throes of passion and on the learning curve of new wife-dom, it’s easy to neglect the development of your own person-hood. I don’t mean this as some sort feminist rant (although my husband would tell you that I do occasionally succumb to those, too!). I realize that the Bible talks a lot of submission and quiet demeanor and fidelity. However, I also realize that the Bible talks a lot about pursuing Christ above all else, seeking His face daily, giving Him your all: the key to a healthy marriage? Additionally, I know that my Jeremiah wanted to marry me, that he cherishes the somebody that I am. I know that Jeremiah wanted to take me and take him, two individuals willing to commit and sacrifice for each other, and create us, not to the nonexistence of each other as individuals but as the union of each other as people. It seems that the best way to honor and esteem my husband is to ensure that he’s got a-heck-of-a-somebody(!!!!) by his side.
Therefore, this morning, I’ve taken myself out to lunch. I spent 10 buckaroos — more than I’ve spent on myself in a long time — on a big ol’ cup of joe and an uppity bisciut coated in eggs, cheese, pesto, and shaved salmon. I’m listening to John Coltrane and praying for my family, my husband, and my school schedule starting soon. I’m reading my Bible and praying to my God to create in me a quiet spirit and a fierce loyalty and a guarded heart. I am somebody looking forward to many, many, many more years of being one unique part in this little saga that is Grace Lilly and Jeremiah Allen Breer. Together, we are a part of something grand.
Happy wife-ness to all you married gals out there! Happy Friday to the rest you’s!