Sunday, July 6, 2008

Making the choice

This may be a little shocking to some of you, but sometimes I think about what life might be like without my husband.

Sometimes, it's because I am angry with him and I want him to just drop off the face of the Earth. And sometimes it is just because I need a reality check. Recently, I have found myself thinking about what my life would have been like, had he not ever come into it. Of course, obviously, the children would be missing, but there is so much more.

Would I even be married? I don't know. It's a tricky world out there. There are so many pitfalls and traps to fall into when dealing with the dating world. I have friends who waited until they were 35 or 36 to get married. I don't know that that makes it easier. You know, when they told us that things would be hard for us if we married young, they were wrong. Things were harder.

No one can imagine from the standpoint of an engaged couple, what life might have in store. We had no idea what our lives would be like at 35, when we married at 22. As my husband finally told his mother, "There is no "easy" way to be married. It will always be a challenge, no matter how long we wait." That's when she told me she knew he was ready. But, had I not had the grounding of a good man in my life, I wonder if things would have been different for me.

It is not hard for me to imagine trailing from empty relationship to empty relationship, dragging my heart and soul through the mud of the sexual politics associated with the dating world. All the while, leaving pieces of myself all over the city with the men who used me and then threw me away. I have a tendency to be far too trusting and far too easily led astray by a well placed compliment or the promise of something new and exciting. I could see myself as one of the girls on "Sex and the City", struggling to come to terms with who I am and what I want from my man and never being able to find my way out of the dating labyrinth.

But, that is not how my life turned out. And this is why.

The first thing that my husband brought to me was his faith. Catholicism is so very important to him, that it infuses everything that he does. When he and I were still just friends, I was going through a faith crisis. Michael would talk me through all my questions and give me real answers that I could hang my hat on. My reconversion to Catholicism was and is a gift that was given to me by Michael. Without him, I would have truly been adrift in my search for truth.

Another thing that my husband brought to the table was his love of music. I love music, that's certainly no secret. But, Michael loves to explore his musical world. I am very cautious in my audio explorations. I had never listened to chant and renaissance polyphony before I met him. The entire depth and breadth of my musical experience in these forms were simple chants from the Holy Week masses and Palestrina's "O Bone Jesu". His introduction of these forms to my life was life changing. Until the last few years, my entire musical reputation has been built around chant. He also introduced me to American Folk hymnody and Irish folk music that I would never have listened to on my own.

Michael is also my greatest fan and manager. When I am lagging behind and wanting to throw in the towel, Michael is the cheerleader. When I am too shy to ask people for gigs and references, Michael is there, managing my career. A song that I hear often at weddings (unfortunately) is "Wind Beneath My Wings". I get so tired of the sentiment that, "I am so very important today and its all because you gave everything to me, husband-to-be (or Mom and Dad, or bridesmaids...)" All I hear is, "Prepare to be overshadowed, dude. I am the princess!" Truly, that's what I think of. But, I think it has more to do with the fact that these children have no idea what it's going to be like for them. I can say that Michael has given everything so that I can be a success (heck, so I can just be alive...), but that's after 20 years of relationship. Who can really say that after 20 months of relationship? Or even 4 years?

Every time I think of what it would be like to start over with someone new, I think of how very much the two of us are symbiotic. We would not be who we are now, were it not for each other. We live for each other and because of each other. And the longer I am married, the more I find that I cannot imagine life without my husband, Michael.

He is my best friend, my confidant, my partner in life and my own true love.

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