So many years later…

Posted on 13 June 2006

Our Wedding Day
Originally uploaded by Barbara Y.


Thirty-six years ago today, we married. I can’t remember if Rob used the conventional four words – will you marry me – or not. I remember laughing and agreeing. I also remember the next four days walking around muttering under my breath – you fool you said you’d never marry what are you doing tell him before it’s too late – but then it came to me like a flash, an epiphany (something that has seldom happened to me) that to marry this man was good, very good, and so we were married some months later in an Unitarian Church by a washing machine salesman (another story.)

Why was I so certain that he was the one? I knew I loved his arms, his lips, his voice but why tie the knot, commit till death do us part? I sometimes think that it would have been easier and better not to marry. Simone de Beauvoir says her life with Sartre was richer because she refused to have a conventional marriage – too easy to fall into conventional roles.

I don’t like marriages or any relationship where two must do everything together, where one may want to do something, say travel, and the other doesn’t, so the one doesn’t live her or his dream. I especially hate marriages where the husband is lord and master and the wife is servant – no less, a slave.

There have been times – though very few – where Rob has played the male dominance part and sneered and derided me but he is not above apologizing and later, when calm, is open to discuss whatever.

I had this idea once that people come together out of lust yes but also to teach each other: I am interested in this, you are interested in that. We will broaden each other’s world by coming together (no pun intended.) So I will go to a jazz concert and you will attend a ballet. You will talk about your passion and I will talk about mine. Maybe we will become passionate together or not and, if not, it is a pleasure to see the other totally absorbed. (I have stood in the doorway to the office and watched Rob with his headset leaning back in ecstasy listening to music… and I feel such a surge of love for him.)

Susan once said that one’s mate/partner/love should be one’s best friend in the sense that she or he encourages the other to live her or his dreams – no matter if it excludes the other.

I wonder sometimes, if some think, that leaving one’s partner for an extended period of time is dangerous. He or she may find another. He or she may find that living solo is better for his or her work and creative endeavours. And there is always the fear that the other may have a serious accident and be lost forever. (Damn it is me who thinks these thoughts.) But these things could as easily happen at home. When I went to France the first time, when I went to Northern Ireland, everytime I leave, a voice in my head asks how I dare leave my man for so long… but it is my voice, not Rob’s. And it has become easier. I know, at this time in my life, that I cannot live long stretches with anyone. I need time alone to explore my heart and soul so I can decide what I need to do next without worrying about the other.

In one of his books, James Hollis asks how we can expect to know another when we don’t even know ourselves and yet it is only in relation to another that we catch a glimpse of self (though sometimes I don’t like that self.) He advises us not to ask of another what we must do for ourselves – and I assume this means loving and respecting ourselves and tending to our own needs – difficult at the best of times.

As far as what we must do for the other – we must love that he or she is other, a mystery.

So to my mysterious other, though your silences sometimes frustrate me – that perhaps speak of my frustration and fear of being silenced – I still love your arms, your lips, your voice. As you can see in the pictures below, I loved your anniversary message so much that I copied you.
From Canada to France
From France to Canada

See what Rob started
Originally uploaded by Barbara Y.

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