I realized that most of what makes the typical marriage is the slower process of two lives intertwining like DNA. It's the working to solutions as a team; it's the being completely honest; it's the working through disagreements; it's the really taking the time to communicate; it's the support that comes with all of that.
The merging of lives is hard work — it's even harder work than I had really been prepared for. In the bringing of two lives together, there is some autonomy that is lost in the process. You are no longer working for the “you”; you are now working for the “us” — what's best for the “us” and having to negotiate the new merged places.
For the DNA metaphor, it's like making sure that all the genes match. Are you building up to the 10 fingers and the 10 toes? Are you making sure that the heart doesn't have a hole in it? Are you making sure the spinal cavity is fully closed?
Giving up some of the “you” things has, honestly, been difficult for me at times. I'm a fiercely independent person. I make my own decisions on my own time and in my own way. I can be very difficult to work with sometimes because of it. Being a true team player isn't something that really comes to me. (That isn't to say that I'm a complete asshole, though I do have my moments.)
Recently, Mr. Man and I decided that we were going to start to merge our finances together to better be able to afford our “us” life — bills, the house, general expenditures… We spend the vast majority of our money on all those things and we had been struggling because we'd been operating as financial islands instead of a cohesive unit.
So, I closed my account and moved that money to our bank (a Credit Union) where it happily sits and I realized — I just hit a tipping point.
Sure, we've got vendors and preliminary guest lists and engagement photos. But, those are not real things in the real world. It's still all conceptual. The engagement photos were fun to have taken, but there's no way it felt “real” in the sense of “holy fuck we're getting married and spending the rest of our lives together.” Moving the money, though… that did.
And it hit me like a punch to the gut. The next piece of the two DNA strands clicked into place in the zip-tie zygotic process. It's the part that ensures the relationship can breathe and have a heart beat.
Before this point, it was more the sprouting of arm buds. It was a floating mass that looked like it could be a human, but also a fish, shrimp, or it could become a cat, dog, monkey, ocelot or woolly mammoth. At the moment where the money was moved and my account was closed, I suddenly felt the simultaneous chill and warmth, like a Bayou winter, of coming into real adulthood.
No more talking about the “what ifs.” We are going to give birth to the rest of our lives.