On the intimacies and interdependence of marriage

I hadn’t been married long when I made some off handed comment to my mother about how I thought she should do more for herself. She’d asked my dad to do something mundane, something I would just do myself. I don’t even remember what it was or where they were living at the time. I just remember her response sort of shut me up because she didn’t respond to me like she normally does, which is something I actually can’t explain. She’s not mad or intense, but when she retorts there something about her voice that makes me both roll my eyes, and feel slightly nervous, but also cared for. But when she responded to me this time, it was just simply said. “At this age, I’m not dependent. We’re interdependent. We need each other differently now than we used to.”

Naturally, as an arrogant twenty something oldest child, I thought this was dumb. But now that I’m several years down the road in experience and marriage, I’m starting to get it. I saw it in this image I don’t even remember taking. It appears right before a ceremony, and instead of marking it as a cast off, I saw something in it. His eyes, her hands. It was that connection my mom was talking about. I’m starting to feel it with Alex, like how I need him in different ways than I used to. Sometimes I need him at weird times, like the time I went to shoot in the cold at the river, and he came with me.  His hand on my shoulder speaks volumes to me when I need it. We’re becoming interdependent in some ways. It takes time to know it’s happening. I didn’t really start to see it until this year. It think it came upon us gradually, and quietly. Someone calls it working shoulder to shoulder. But I think that any couple with an enduring marriage experiences it. It’s sort of like the umami moments of marriage. It’s all the types of moments at once. Support, happiness, hope, despair, determination, commitment. It’s all the things that make up love.

It’s hard to express that this is something I want for all the couples I meet, whether or not they book with me. I wish I could give them a glimpse of what their lives will look like in 15 years. But the best thing I can do in this moment is to show you what it looks like. It’s a look, and brush of a hand as you move away for a few minutes. It’s a moment here and a touch there, made up of a lifetime of these intimate quiet moments. These are the images you want some day.

 

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