Originally published on Oct 10, 2012
It is an amazing feeling getting engaged, planning a wedding, and having the attention of all your loved ones. Then the day finally arrives and you are now husband and wife. Still reeling from the celebration you are off to the honeymoon. Then it is over and you are on a flight back home. Reality hits you and yes, you really are a Mr. or Mrs. It is an adjustment and sometimes it is easy and other days not so much. Guess what? It’s OK we all go through it. After the Cake is my humble musings on the collaboration of marriage/partnerships. I was a newlywed and just like you, trying to be an understanding, supportive, and loving partner…even when, on the rare occasions , I felt the urge to say to my beloved loudly, “REALLY?”
Love one another, but make not a bond of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
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 other’s keeping;
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together;
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
Khalil Gibran is the author of The Prophet one of my favorite books. I’ve loaned this book too many times to mention and it has never been returned. Luckily, for me, it never has been out of print since 1923. The central character of the book is a man who lived in a foreign country for twelve years and is about to board a ship that will take him back to his home. Before his departure he is stopped by the locals to discuss the many facets of the human condition. The traveler talks of friendship, passion, pain, and many other human experiences. The entire book is a gem, but his words on marriage have made this essay an alternative reading at many weddings. It is my favorite prose on marriage. Many believe it does not support the union of marriage. I think it’s often misunderstood…I feel the same about marriage, too.
I do believe that in a marriage you are a unified force, a coming together but I also believe that as individuals we must continue to grow in our own light and support our partner’s growth. As long as both partners share a common direction towards the future and it makes your union stronger, I encourage it. That does not mean that you have to join in on their new found passion for NASCAR nor do they have to attend the local calligraphy class with you. It means that you support one another in the things that make you happy even if they are not your cup of tea. In my eyes to love is not to possess; it is to return every day and every night with the love, respect, and understanding that allows your partner the space to become the best they can be. Space is beautiful when appreciated but more so when it is given. What do you think?
image credit: Millie Holloman