But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
–Khalil Gibran from The Prophet
That quote. The one that you’ve probably heard a bunch at weddings… Yeah, it’s definitely one of my favorites. Not only is it gorgeous to hear spoken aloud at ceremonies, adding to the resonance of each union, but it is also one of the truest and most honest bits of marriage advice I’ve ever heard.
To think of marriage as a current –fluid, ever-changing, ever expanding and contracting– is so incredibly wise. Here, Gibran expresses love to be less about possession and more of a natural ebb and flow between two strong individuals.
I’m with him on this one. Marriage ebbs and flows, as do individuals within each union, just like the tides. You don’t really lose your identity or morph entirely into one another once you get married. In fact, when given space like the kind described in this poem, both of you actually end up becoming more of yourselves, approaching and receding in your own time, yet traveling together downstream.
I struggled with these questions of individuality and marriage before my own wedding, as do many men & women. It’s perfectly healthy to ask them, and honestly I think everyone should ask them. (Does getting married mean I lose my identity? What does marriage actually look like once we’re done with the craziness of the wedding day? Can I still be an independent person?) But once you get into the groove and feel that support and space for individual growth within a healthy partnership, it’s easy to see: As it turns out, modern marriage can actually be incredibly identity-building, not identity-destroying.
For more reading on this topic, check out A Practical Wedding… they always have interesting discussions about what it means to be a wife these days. It’s important to explore these ideas when you’re engaged, and to give them at least as much thought as you do, say, your wedding favors, etc..
Anyway, it felt right to mention the tides when putting together this post for Charisse & Brian. They suggested Deception Pass State Park for their engagement session location, which is very fitting for them as they feel a connection to the Northwest. That area in particular has everything that they (and I!) love about the Northwest: the ocean, forest, and cliffs. I looooved going on an adventure with these two. They’re the perfect example of strong souls who give each other the space and support they need in order to achieve their best selves. As a pair, they’re super sweet, a little sassy, and just a lot of fun.
How am I the luckiest when it comes to awesome clients? While I contemplate that thought, I invite you to check out some of the highlights from their session. :)
Married friends: I’d love to hear from you! Did you struggle with questions about your identity during your transition to married life? What are your thoughts and advice to engaged couples? I feel strongly that this discussion needs to be a bigger conversation within our society, and the journey to marriage needs to be given more of our time and energy. It’s time to start talking about the emotional work that should be happening during couples’ engagements vs. just the pretty (but transient) wedding day details that tend to distract us from all of these deep thoughts!