When in a marriage I’ve been taught to support what he wants, make sure I am doing my part to contribute to cleaning, cooking, working, and raising our kids and to be kind and loving to each other while we individually keep ourselves busy, happy, and productive; that when we need each other for something, each other’s needs come first over anyone; to place God first (or your connection to spirituality) then each other, then children, and the rest of the world. But what I learned is while he and I were individually connecting to a different source of spirituality (everyone has their own relationship with their own God) and while we were individually being very happy, productive, and busy, that I was experiencing spiritual growth, joy, and being blessed but leaving him out.
Our relationship became it’s own source of spiritual energy when we began to work together; sharing the same mission, the same heartbreak, the same joy; It got me thinking about when God made Adam and Eve maybe he intended to teach us that woman and man need to build the world together, as one mission and not as two individuals that have common ground. We have to connect on a deeper level than what bill needs to be paid or what’s for dinner; we need to be able to look each other in the eyes and ask, ‘did something happen to you today that makes you love me less? Or makes you appreciate your life more? Can I treat you better now than I did ten minutes ago? Do you need to grow with me or is this our best?”
When you divide yourself, touching base on the physical world, you forget that you are one; we must lose this idea that each other’s happiness is a self-fulfilling task’; we are one; my happiness inspires his pride; my sickness calls his remedy; my grief is his priority to fix; and his is mine. When a friend calls, I drop everything to take that call, shushing everyone and running to another room to listen and advise; why would we be so loyal to a friend’s mental health and progress but our husband is on his own?
My relationship with Joe changed with Bentley;which was Joe's nomination. When Bentley passed away, we grieved together, we looked at every post together; and then we began to share the world of making art together because Joe asked to paint Bentley’s painting with me. I began to see my husband in a totally different light, one I assumed he didn't have; where there were deep emotions for this family, while he pictured losing one of his boys, and taking that pain to turn it into a gift for this little boy's family. I fell had over heels in love with this side of him because it meant he was 'good enough' to share my project with. Not just anyone has the emotional depth to both give themselves to painting for 10 hours and truly care about who this gift is for; he does, and so my heart expanded. On the other side of it was a man who had not shown me this side of him for almost ten years, who I had not seen more than a single tear from yet, after Bentley I would read aloud Samantha Jennings' Warrior Bio for her child Ariya not knowing the third sentence would talk about Ariya passing away, we both fell apart; it wasn't fair, but who is this man? And then we made the most beautiful Lion for Araya that I have ever seen.
I’m not suggesting everyone leave their professional lives to work with their husbands; I am suggesting that while apart, you stay connected as best as you can; every moment that changes you, every thought you have on each other that passes by; who else is telling the two of you that you are loved more than anyone? No one. If you’re not showing it, you’re not saying it, you’re not thinking it; it will lose all it’s power. I’ve been there; that woman had no idea how easy it is to grow; love others selflessly, and give it all you have; I've been doing this for 11 months, for total strangers, even raising almost $2000 for someone I have never met. All this energy in the day to day was being devoted to my project, leaving everyone else to watch me grow, grieve, and gasp alone.
We must all learn that the people we love can't live on assumptions alone; we are all always growing, changing, and evolving. If you don't demand a constant connection, you will both grow right out of needing each other. Your husband and your wife is not your sounding board for gossip and planning; they are as essential as the air you breathe and critical to your life; share this life with them because you have no idea what art and love lives inside of them.