Believe in nothing, no matter who says it, even if I say it, if it does not agree with your own experience and your own common sense ~ Buddha

We all know it’s V-day today, even me, and I’m out in the boonies without a tv.

So I thought I might share something in the spirit (ugh) of the season.

When I got married it was the most senseless thing I ever did.

Not that I regret it. Je ne regrette rien. But it was completely, unjustifiably illogical.

And I’m not known for my complete disregard for planning (several people who know me personally just snorted their coffee. I am perhaps only three levels down from a complete control freak). I went from an NSA relationship to marriage in three short months.

Not only was I totally partisan to this process— I instigated it. I asked him to marry me.

It was insane. I still don’t know what came over me.

See, I was fresh out of a breakup, a pretty nasty one, and I wasn’t looking for anything at all. Q phones me, out of the blue, one month to the day after the official breakup. Until that point, he was just a guy I knew from work. He says he heard about me and Wayne, he’s really sorry, and would it be all right if he called me once in a while. (Yes, you heard that right. He asked permission to court me.) However I am still in the fuck-’em-and-chuck-’em mode and I succinctly inform him that there is zero possibility of a relationship with me. He says he understands, but he’d still like to get to know me better because he’s always thought I was awesome. I’m still wearing my cynicism like a new shirt, so I roll my eyes and think, uh-huh. I know what that means… but what the hell, he’s good for the ego.

I will spare you the sickly-sweet details of the getting-to-know-you process, but I still remember vividly the night I came to my decision. It was 3 am, and we had been talking all night… I felt so whole, and so completed,  and I suddenly thought, wouldn’t it be great to have this every night? So I said, I think you should marry me. And he said, ok.

So there I am a 3am, trying to figure out where I’m gonna to find a Justice of the Peace at that hour. Because when I make up my mind, I don’t screw around.


It was a complete 180. In all my previous relationships, I genuinely thought of them as leases. We’ll be together for a time, and we’ll be happy, but eventually we’ll grow apart and we’ll have to let each other go. They were very logical, very cerebral relationships with people who, on paper, were far more compatible with me than my husband is.

It goes even deeper than that. It was a true paradigm shift. I always believed that I could never have a lasting relationship because I simply changed to much, too often and was too honest to stay in a relationship where my growth was being stifled. It was too much strain, I felt, for any relationship to endure, especially because I felt the other person would no doubt grow and change, and couldn’t be expected to grow in parallel with me. From my earliest childhood, I believed utterly that I would move through the world more or less on my own.

So when I asked Q to marry me, I was shocked at myself… And yet, it felt right. In those days I very rarely took a stand on my intuitions; in most cases I would simply deny having them. But that night, when in spite of myself,  I made a life-changing decision, I held on tight. I held tight to that feeling of “rightness” that was beyond the realm of explanation.

It was scarier than hell. My logical brain had a field day. It was a rebound relationship. We’d only been dating for 6 weeks. He had a child I hadn’t even met for Chrissakes. What would my family think?

Some would say I took the coward’s way out when we secretly eloped, but it was pragmatism on my part, I assure you. There was a very real possibility that when faced with all the evidence against us, I would chicken out, or at least postpone the whole thing until I felt “secure.” It was a reactive response that I felt could not be in my best interests, no matter how logical it looked on the face.

You notice how much this is about me, me, me? You’d have to know my husband to realize how authentically vulnerable, selfless and trusting he is. He told me on our second phone call that he “knew I was the one” and had known it since we met the previous summer. I told him he was being stupid and not to say things like that. When I said “Marry me,” I knew he loved me, but I hadn’t yet realized I loved him. Once the cat was out of the bag and my logical brain started firing distress signals, I realized that I could mess him up badly. Fucking with his emotions was a one-way ticket to perpetual purgatory if karma had anything to do with it. So I had one chance, only one, to either go with my gut or walk away with my moral integrity still intact.

So I did it. I held onto my trust with both hands tightly and we bought rings and a license. We had to reschedule twice because he kept getting called to work, and because we were keeping it a secret, we couldn’t say why it was so important to have time off.

I think the universe was testing my trust there, but I never really considered using it as an excuse to call things off. I wouldn’t want to defend myself to my sharp-eyed relatives, but I wasn’t going to let a scheduling conflict stop me from doing what my heart so clearly wanted.

It will be four years in June.

And it was worth it.

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Comments on: "Holding Trust in both Hands Tightly" (14)

  1. Gah, get the hell out of my head. We parallel a little too closely here.

    The relationships-as-leases? The inevitability of change and growing apart? The impossibility of changing alongside, instead of away from, a partner?

    Yep. Me too. 100%, me too.

    That’s a gorgeous story. I love it.

    (Going on three years with my partner; I gave him my ring last September. No regrets – all love.)

  2. Shanna,
    Congratulations on being together with your husband for 4 years! I guess following your heart worked out to be the right decision after all?

    • Conservatively optimistic! At any rate, much, much better than wrestling with should I/shouldn’t I for an indefinite period of time. Sometimes logical weighing of the pros and cons is just dithering. There are no guarantees in life.

  3. I felt so whole, and so completed…
    I’m not sure illogical is the right word. It is a rare thing to find a person who makes you feel that way. I settled for people who were wrong for me several times before I found my parter Randy. And I told him just a few weeks after we met, “I know I’m not supposed to say this yet, but I think we should be together. I mean, you can date other guys, but I’ll be waiting for you – I’m confident you’ll see I’m right for you and we’ll end up together.” He did revisit his former lover who had dumped him and wanted him back. That upset me. But he came back like I said he would. That was almost 15 years ago and I couldn’t be happier. So that’s my Valentines Day story – may you and your Mr. Right remain equally happy.

    • It takes a braver person than I am to make the first move like that … and to be so sure. I don’t have it in me to be declaritive like that. But what I learned here was that you can be sure enough in the moment to take the leap.

      Now my husband and I watch Bones and we laugh about how I’m the nerdy pathologist who believes that love is simply a chemical reaction in the brain and he’s the suave, vulnerable FBI agent with a heart like a lion.

      Congratulations yourself!

  4. Brave post!

    It is possible to find someone who will stand and grow beside you, neither overshadowing or trailing – good for you for listening.

    • Thank you. *blushes* I only shared because I wanted to show what was possible… outside of the trashy romantic stereotypes that we get inundated with this time of year.

  5. Ah, it took me a day or so, but now I remember what this post reminded me of:

    Hold your heart courageously
    as we walk into this dark place
    Stand, steadfast erect and see
    that love is the province of the brave

    — TV on the Radio, “Province”

    The smoldering charcoal briquette that I have in place of what you mortals call a “heart” makes it difficult for me to comprehend all this talk of “emotions” and “trust” and “courage”, but still, let me see if I can convincingly mimic what you call “empathy” and say: Good on ya. I’m glad you’re happy. (I would type one of those bizarre sideways stick-person smiles I notice you humans using, but I have a reputation to uphold.)

  6. what a beautiful story!! love it!

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