Ernesto and I will have been married for 12 years this September. Hard to imagine life before those nuptials took place. Things were very different. In my generation and even today, the notion of marriage is simply a fleeting thought for many career women in their late 20’s or early 30’s. Not just women, but men as well, have specific roadmaps they strive to follow and are careful not to deviate. Priorities, in order, are college, more college, career, travel and ‘we’ll see’. Usually marriage and children do not enter our minds until late 30’s or 40’ish. I still have many close friends who happily choose to remain single and thoroughly enjoy their freedom and independence. I also have friends who are married with families and experience a different kind of joy…but either path does not come without its challenges. I read Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book “Option B” where she talks about life as a single parent in her 40’s after her husband Dave passed away suddenly from heart failure in 2015 while on vacation in Mexico. She had to learn how to be single again and it was terrifying. Every decision she made for her and her 2 children was a struggle initially because she didn’t have the comfort and peace of mind of her partner’s concurrence. I totally get it. I rely on Ernesto for most decisions whether it be family, career or our health. I’ve come to depend on and genuinely appreciate his openness and deep perspective on things.
What provoked me to write today’s post is that Ernesto and Maya were away on travel these last several days and it felt very different not having them around. It’s not often they both are away for a long period of time. For a moment, it felt a bit nostalgic, because I was taken back to a time when I lived on my own and how it felt to go about my day with only myself to think about. It felt slightly strange but liberating as well. I think we all need a little of that peace and tranquility of aloneness sometimes. Sheryl Sandberg also writes about this in her book.
As for our marriage, Ernesto and I have reached a new realm in our relationship. I see other couples, like my parents and others who I know who’ve been marriage for many years. Yes, the ‘honeymoon’ might have ended long ago, but there is this amazing, different kind of bond that forms. A true partnership that develops and nurtures as the years go by. I know it sounds cliché but we’ve reached a point where we both have truly become best friends, confidants and wingmen for each other when confronted with stressful events. I’m not saying it’s always easy and there will be obstacles to face, but after 12 years of marriage, I find that we’ve begun to argue less, develop more patience for one another and have become more “in sync” with how to handle Maya’s occasional outbursts and overall child rearing.
So I’ve come to appreciate where our marriage is at and the road that lies ahead. After reading about or talking with other couples approaching similar milestones, the romance, adventure and excitement tends to subside after so many years because you’re completely inundated with every day life…focused on meeting goals, juggling multiple tasks and sustaining your household. It doesn’t mean the ‘fire’ is gone forever or can’t be reignited, but who has the time or the energy. Sometimes its easier just to ignore it. Let’s face it. We grow complacent. But I’ve come to realize that maintaining that spark is an important attribute of the relationship that all couples need to work on…for their own sake and for the preservation of the family unit.
But for my beloved singletons out there. I love and embrace you and the joy you bring to this world. You are fearless and take on anything that comes your way. Continue to be the beautiful beings that you are and when you jet off to Nice or Malaga for a long weekend, I will be living vicariously through you!