When A Free Spirit Gets Married
When A Free Spirit Gets Married:
Thriving in marriage as the person you were made to be.
BY JESSICA LAWSON
It has been over a year since my husband and I got married.
Outside. In the mountains. Oh, and it snowed heavily during our ceremony.
It was all my idea. He supported every bit.
I was a fairly independent wanderer before and during our dating relationship. Marrying Cameron never seemed like a ball and chain to me. Never. Not before we started dating, not in the middle, not until it was a few days before he proposed. I didn't know for certain he was going to propose, but I knew it was coming. I was cheering for it to happen sooner than later. But I remember freaking out when it actually did.
The first time I wanted to be married was when I was 16. I was a toddling Christian and the idea of being committed to one person sounded so freeing. There were pastors and their wives all around in my youth group and I loved their relationships. They were committed to God and each other. I saw freedom in that commitment. But it was not the right timing, the right me, or the way God willed it.
I truly hoped by the time I graduated college I would already be a year into marriage. I would wander through the early years of college putting my hope in a future spouse. I idealized friends' relationships. I found myself coveting people and relationships I barely knew. But time went forward and my NEED to get married dissipated. I had no more hope that it was going to happen. I used to dream of marrying and running a ministry with my husband. But that wasn't going to be my lot in life.
Maybe I'm called to celibacy? Maybe I should go to India and be a missionary? These were real thoughts I had.
In my very contrary nature, I saw the lack of a committed relationship as a license to roam on my own. I spent most summers away working at a summer camp. I was a semi-frequent flyer, not that that constitutes a pre-check with TSA. And I did all of that by myself. I worked three jobs by myself. I went to church by myself. I barely cooked for myself. But I would go out to eat and to movies alone, not necessarily together, I never consciously "dated" myself. But I would drive up to the mountains alone. And I felt whole. I didn't need a man. It was in this time of me enjoying my singleness with God that I experienced some of the deepest pains and biggest leaps in my spiritual growth.
And it seemed like once I truly believed that (and my man did too), God gave me Cameron, and the beautiful gift of him wanting to spend 24/7, 365 days a year with me.
But all of a sudden, fear struck.
I couldn't just do whatever I wanted anymore. I would have to be selfless. I couldn't just drop everything for my photography freelancing life. I couldn't spend my money on traveling, I would have to consider someone else. Do you know how expensive TWO ROUNDTRIP FLIGHTS are compared to a single one way? Yikes.
I never realized how selfish I was until our engagement loomed over me. In my typical independent woman fashion, I attempted to sort through these complex conflictions by myself. And I got nowhere. I remember spiraling in my overthinking. For hours and hours, I tried to figure out why was I suddenly so afraid of marriage when it had practically been written in my Christian DNA. Even when I sought the Lord and He led me to this verse to encourage me, I refused to dwell on His truth.
"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God" (Colossians 4:12).
STAND MATURE and FULLY ASSURED in ALL the WILL OF GOD. Wow, isn't that great?
Anywho, I moved into externally processing with a few friends. And nothing settled my restless heart until I finally talked to Cameron.
I told him I was freaking out about changing. I didn't want to change. I had fought so hard to become myself and I didn't want to be a failure of a wife or a failure to myself. I didn't want to have to choose.
Cameron smiled. We were on the phone on his break at work, but I could tell he was smiling. He told me he never wanted me to change into fitting a wife role. He wanted me to be myself, that's who he was choosing to marry.
A stillness came over me. I remember feeling confident, empowered.
And just so you know, Cameron did propose three days later. He hijacked a photography trip to Yosemite with some of our dearest friends I planned months before. And I'm biased but I think it was the most amazing proposal ever, possibly because I inadvertently planned it. And yes it did start snowing before he asked me the easiest question, I've ever answered.
I used to hate thinking about the future, now it's steady.
I used to guard my heart against dreaming too big, now I want to dream with my husband.
I don't feel like my freedom is encroached on because of marriage, my husband roots for me more than anyone.
If I communicate, he will give me the space I need.
If I'm considerate and inclusive of him, he supports me way more than any friends or family member ever could.
The thing is I don't think marriage is ever the reason a couple breaks up. We attest so much of our happiness in this past year to marriage. Even when things were harder and we faced many many HARD life things, we didn't blame our marriage. We were tempted to. But it's life that can be hard. The Bible speaks of this in Ecclesiastes 3:
"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
This is life. This is real life. Poetic isn't it? This is what marriage will be because marriage does not exclude us from the reality of this fallen world. All those times when I was idolizing someone else's relationship I was actually longing after the lie of idealism. And worshipping a lie depreciates real life.
It can be difficult for my floaty self to land on such big realities. Not that I'm overly idealistic but I tend to be more positive than not. But just like the ebb and flow of the poem of Solomon we just read, my friendship with Cameron has the same ebb and flow when I let him be his steady self and I keep floating. Our marriage is at it's best when we walk in how God made each of us because I truly believe God designs souls to be paired together. We see that in friendships. We see that in some work friends that we work truly well with. We see that with some siblings. Of course, we see that in marriage.
The space that my marriage provides is where I flourish. It's where I soar. And I've seen how my free-spiritedness brings my husband out of his shell and he soars along with me. I've also seen how my tendency to be fickle, indecisive, or self-doubting is calmed by his steadfastness.
My free spirit doesn't die in marriage. It flies higher, stronger, and faster than it ever had before.
I now have someone I can depend on, rest with, and be redirected back to God when my pride isolates me.
To my fellow free spirits,
Bring your anxieties about marriage to God. Let Him still you first. And then let Him take care of you. On that one day, He took care of me through Cameron, as He does most days.
There is not a magic formula for a magical marriage. Our marriage was started and is sustained by striving to keep God first.
Your personality quirks, passions, or shortcomings can not overtake something God hand-designed.
Do not worry friend.
PHOTOS BY JESSICA LAWSON