Ashlee and I have been married nearly 5 years. Having been single for the previous 33 years I related to the world, to grief, to joy, to music, to travel, to career from a very isolated framework. I have always thought myself generous, caring, and aware of the needs of others. However, I began to realize how selfish I had been. The initial months and even first year of marriage were a shock to my system(physically and mentally). Before that point I’d been able to reserve time, energy, emotion and consideration. Confronting this and realizing I could no longer continue down this path stunned me, you could have literally seen it in my eyes. Not that I could have done any differently and not that it was terminal, but I can remember how overwhelming this new openness felt for the first few family gatherings. A raindrop that had been joined to a river, only knowing how to be a single droplet of water. Struggling to leap back into the air and upward into the clouds to retreat to the safety of the rushing wind.
Eventually this feeling wore off and I got acquainted to these new rhythms and patterns. I’m still in the midst of discovering new ways to relate to everything I’d previously known. Recently a new feeling or understanding of the world has been coming to the forefront of my mind. That I’m beginning to see from this new perspective as my primary lens and not a secondary sense. That my relationship to the world is no longer as a lone individual, but motivated and out of the framework of my marriage relationship. The Bible reflects on this very thing as it says two become one flesh. I’ve heard the trinity described as God in community and that marriage is the nearest glimpse we will have into this intimacy. The joining together of our flesh is not an overwriting of my spirit or losing my distinction from Ashlee. Our bond produces new life and enables me to be a husband, a dad, a part of a church, and a man. It’s not less definition, it’s more definition. Though to be clear I don’t see this as filling in a gap or alleviating a deficiency in my life; I’m not greater than my single brothers and sisters. It’s just that it’s from this perspective of our bond that I’ve realized I’ve begun to see and relate to the world around me.