Sandberg: The person we marry is a reflection of ourselves
By Amy Sandberg Roost
My numerous detractors will be happy to know this is a retraction of a previous column. Now, before you get all excited, I’m not about to endorse Mitt Romney for president. I’m merely saying I was wrong…about marriage.
More than two years ago I wrote, “marriage vows consist of big promises — to love, honor and obey till death due us part — that most of us can’t realistically keep. Therefore, I propose a larger and, in some ways, more challenging definition of marriage one that does not rely on enslavement, false pride, or the threat of divorce to survive.”
That sounds like the words of a woman opposed to getting married again, which I was at the time.
Truth be known, I was afraid of marriage. My biggest fear was that by unnerving definition, anything that the heart has chosen for its own mysterious reasons it can always unchoose later — again, for its own mysterious reasons. That love renders all of our plans and all of our hopes a gamble is crazy scary. It is also why marriage is such a big deal and rightfully celebrated.
It’s easy to fall in love with the most perfect or fantasized aspects of each other’s personalities. But to look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, “I can work around that,” takes maturity, and flexibility, hard work, and compromise, and a special kind of love. Two years ago, while I was pretty sure I could work around my partner’s limited flaws, I was less confident he could work around mine. But today I understand that the fact that I’m fully seen by him and he loves me anyway, is the sweetest embrace and safest shelter one could ask for.
Which brings me back to the reason I changed my mind about marriage. If marriage says anything, it says something about ourselves. The person we choose to marry is a vivid representation of our personality. So choosing a husband is the most gleaming possible mirror through which my emotional individualism is reflected back to the world. His being my husband tells others who I am. And, obviously, if I’ve chosen to marry him, I am AWESOME!
So last Saturday, I took the plunge, the leap, the pirouette into marriage. But don’t assume that just because I tied the knot, I’ve adopted a new set of conservative values. Indulge me as I share with you a few highlights of the ceremony and you’ll see what I mean.
First, however, some context. The theme of the wedding was built around a Brian Anders artwork (the cover of our invitation) which reads: “‘You’re the strangest person I ever met,’ she said and I said ‘you too.’ And we decided we’d know each other a long time.”
Building off that theme, we found a 17-year-old bagpiper (and cancer survivor) to play “Amazing Grace” as we walked each other down the “aisle” in our backyard. Our minister was a shaman, our ring bearer, a yellow Lab. My husband wore Birkenstocks. I was barefoot. And at the end of the evening we made a toast to the fire in our bellies and our hearts; thanked all the loving friends who surrounded us; took a sip of 151 rum; and, much to everyone’s surprise, both breathed a ball of fire into the warm, new moon air. Has there ever been a stranger ending to a finer wedding? I may be biased, but somehow I doubt it.
Amy Roost, the former Amy Sandberg, works in the book publishing industry. Reach her at email@example.com.
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