Friday, November 6, 2015

I'm Not the Woman He Married

I have this theory. Everyone always talks about how much we change during our marriages. You might hear some say, "I was so young and naive, I knew next to nothing then. I am such a different person now." We likewise often hear, "He is not the same man I married." Whether or not those changes are viewed as a good thing is irrelevant, we often associate changes in ourselves as a distance away from the person we once were. But when I reflect on the ways I have "changed' since getting married I see it very differently.

Over the past year or so, I've done a lot of reflecting. Really it's been an exhausting amount of reflection. In dealing with my battle with weight/body image, in battling with the struggle to find friendships of my own now that I'm home during the day, in battling some things from my past that have come back to haunt me in a big way now that I'm a mom,  I have been doing a lot of looking back to try to understand and make sense of things.

There are things about the me prior to marriage that I look back on and barely recognize. It's extremely hard for me to admit, but I really wanted acceptance. I don't know why that was so important to me, but feeling like I had a place and people helped me to feel that I belonged. There are things that I seriously agonized over when I met Zach because the judgement from outside sources really affected me. I may not have realized it then, but looking back it's so clear to me now. That girl, I do not recognize her, and, honestly, I can't even relate to her.

 There were people in my life at that time that built me up and I allowed it. It felt good to be someone that people admired and looked up to. I let the love and acceptance of others build me up. There were also people in my life that tore me down and I allowed it. If they told me that something I believed wasn't okay or some part of who I was wasn't okay, I listened. I thought that if people I considered friends were telling me things about myself that I needed to change, then I needed to listen. I believed them. I believed the good and the bad that people said about me. And when the bad hurt too much, I sought more good.

Each and every Fall, I tend to get extremely sentimental and a bit emotional as I recall the events leading up to meeting Zach and the beginning of us and the wedding that followed a year later.The past few weeks I've thought a lot about that girl he met. I have thought about how I was able to hold my ground and stick to my feelings about any subject matter under the sun-except for me--who I was. I could tell you all day the things I believed and felt and I would be the only one with those feelings, but the only thing I didn't really know well enough to defend was myself.

Today, I honestly and truthfully couldn't care less what people think about me, or Zach, or our little life. I couldn't care less what people think about our parenting decisions. I couldn't care less and this girl is a lot more at peace now that she's embraced a little faith in herself. Sometimes I think motherhood liberated me as I had to step it up and become the woman I wanted to be for the sake of my daughter, but I when I think about it, marriage is the root of it all.

Because when I think about it: For six years I've had someone in my corner And this is a different in your corner than any other person in your life. This is a person who's happiness is dependent upon your happiness and who's dreams are your dreams. There is a security in marriage that I never knew to expect and honestly haven't truly begun to appreciate until now. That security allowed me to really navigate "me" and find out who I was. Honestly, my marriage is the safest place I've ever been. Spending six years in that kind of loving and secure place allowed me to grow a bit away from the person I was when I met Zach, and become closer to the person (or spirit rather) I've always been. It's allowed me to grow into the person I'm meant to be.

The safety I got and didn't even know I needed helped me to find my feet and my beliefs. It allowed me to accept myself and to change the way I interact with others--family, friends, people at church/work/etc, to make it the best for me. It allowed me to spend time knowing I needed to change things about myself, but allowing me the time to take to heal in other ways first--because Zach isn't going anywhere. He has accepted me--with him I have the most secure friendship I have ever known and that friendship has allowed me to be honest with myself about who I really know myself to be.. I'm grateful for my marriage which has allowed me to become the person that I am meant to be. 

In what ways has marriage changed you? 

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