Earlier this week, A Practical Wedding wrote about living apart during a marriage. Their post hit home, as this week was the first week of my out-of-state summer internship. Next weekend I will travel back home to get married and celebrate with friends and family. And then – you guessed it – I am right back here, out-of-state and back to work. Which means that my soon-to-be husband and I will spend the first 3 months of our marriage choosing to live apart.
We were both lucky to receive our dream internships for the summer – and, it just so happens that they are plane ride (or long car ride) apart. As for the future, there is a strong possibility that are two careers will keep us in separate zip codes for the foreseeable future. This uncertainty and unconventional living arrangement has caused many of my friends and family to raise their eyebrows and express concern. A few have even implied that perhaps I shouldn’t get married, or wondering why I would choose to get married now, when so much is unknown.
But, on the eve of our wedding, here is what I have come to understand: Marriage is much, much more than having a permanent roommate. While most of us want to live together with our spouse, my decision to get married wasn’t contingent upon that. My decision to get married was contingent upon our love for each other and our mutual support for each other’s dreams.
I am not going to post-pone marriage simply because there is uncertainty about where those dreams will take me. Nor will I sacrifice my dreams simply so that I can live every minute of my life with my husband. Life is full of uncertainties, and I think sometimes we get into a pattern of thinking that we have to have everything “right” before we can possibly get married. We have to graduate, we have to have a certain income, we have to wear a certain size. All the ducks in a row, and all the p’s and q’s crossed.
But marriage isn’t about certainty. At this point in our lives – married, single, or engaged – most of us really don’t know how our careers will turn out, if we’re able to have kids (or if we even want kids!), or even where we will live. If we wait on all of those things materialize before seeking out a life partner, then we might miss out on the joys that partnership brings.
I think of marriage as this big, quantum leap of faith into the unknown, and choosing a partner to take that leap with us. It’s about staring into the unknown and grappling with the uncertainty, knowing that our partner is supporting us. And, yes, it’s about building joint dreams that are bigger than you could have imagined as an individual. As Obama would say, it’s the Audacity to Hope.