. . . to whom you are married. Good idea? Let us discuss.
M and I work at the same law firm. And attended the same law school. And the same undergrad, which is where we met. At this point, our resumes look so much alike that a person could be forgiven for thinking we were actually the same human. (On paper, that is. If you can’t tell us apart in real life, we need to have a conversation called “Boys and Girls: Differences That Further the Human Race”).
We’ve traveled similar paths because we like a lot of the same things: intellectual stimulation, cities, sunshine. And obviously, we like each other . . . which is the reason we’re still married after a summer of studying for the bar in a one-bedroom apartment with no air conditioning. But when you like someone a lot (looooove them, even) things can get a little confusing when you get to be together all the time. When you work in the same building, with the same friends, and motor there every day in the same car.
I think it’s kind of like the first night you stayed up later than your parents and realized there was an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s just waiting in the freezer to see what kind of bad decisions you’d make. You made them, of course, thinking with every sweet, brittle, Cherry Garcia chunk that you were being delivered unto a realm beyond. And then you woke up at 4am and hung on the side of the bathtub and questioned everything you ever knew.
Love can be like that. You can O.D. on being around your favorite person, no matter how much you’re obsessed with their existence. That’s why the strongest relationships are formed between two people who have intense lives of their own. How fast the magic can fade when the words “Tell me about your day!” disappear on your lips, because . . . you already know! You know everything.
The key, I think, is to recreate yourself often enough that they can’t know, not everything. You have to be a surprise to yourself, and to do that, you must have time to yourself. You fall in love over wine and disastrous kayak trips and borrowed suit coats, but you also fall in love alone. “Is he thinking of me?” as you pull paint across a canvas. “I wonder what he’s doing,” as you lie in shavasana. “I can’t wait to tell him about this,” as you push a tiny child in a swing away from you, with your whole strength. You can create something new in the space that’s left when you step apart, even for a little while.
Not easy, but every time I’ve been brave enough to try: so, so worth it. He is the place of ultimate comfort, and therefore the last place I want to be lazy.