BY KAHLIL GIBRAN
Then Almitra spoke again and said, And
what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you
shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white
wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance
Love one another, but make not a bond
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from
Give one another of your bread but eat
not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each
For only the hand of Life can contain
And stand together yet not too near
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow
not in each other’s shadow.
Marriage is beautiful. Relationships are lovely. Being together and connecting is life-giving. But let’s remember that before there was a “we” there was me. And a “you”. Well, there was a we when we were babies and needed the tribe for survival, but as we grew up, we became our own person, with our own needs, desires, tastes, issues, and contributions.
But somewhere, somehow in the unattainable idea of Hollywood rom-coms, love songs, and the commercialized idea of “romance,” the part where we celebrate who we are as individuals has been pushed aside. And yet, that part is critical. Your other half fell in love with that “you” after all, so it’s imperative that you are kept healthy. Melding into one blob of “us” isn’t that appealing and quite frankly, isn’t likely to yield sustained growth and connection. Long-lasting couples fall in and out of love. And particularly during those downs or lulls, it’s important to know who we are as individuals, have our people near, hobbies available, and a strong sense of self.
I write this as I have the privilege to be in Colorado by myself on a solo getaway. It’s the first of its kind and to be honest, I have had to fight the urge to plan, plot, and fill every second. So as I take deep breaths knowing the children are taken care of, my computer is set to “out of office,” and I’m unplugging a bit, I remind myself, “It’s ok. I can just be here with me.” I’m using this as a time to turn off my alarm, stay in the tub too long, and forgot to look at my watch (yeah, the bars aren’t open yet lady.) I’m giving space for the muse to arrive should she choose. I’m reading actual books I can hold in my hands. I am being present on the phone with best friends. And I’m binge watching The Handmaids Tale. Dark, but oh the feminist feels.
I love love. Everyone who knows me knows that. It even says that on my Instagram profile. But I am resetting the expectation that I have to be part of someone else all the time. I am me. I love me. And “me” deserves some space, some quiet, some snacks she doesn’t have to share.
Cultivate the “we” you have come to love. And water your separate gardens where you fell in love.
Liz is a freelance writer for hire who offers ghostwriting, copywriting and blogging services. She lives in amazing Austin, Texas. She is a mother and step-mother, a coffee lover, and yoga enthusiast. She has a master’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and when she isn’t writing or mom’ing, she can be found working as a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist. Her specialty is parenting, communication disorders, healthy living, relationships, and personal/spiritual growth.