When my husband and I married in 1975, I was 24. I was that type of girl who was all ‘yes, sir’ ‘yes, sir’ and you never heard a peep out of me. I met Barry at the local fishing spot where I would go with my uncle and cousins. He was a strong, handsome guy and I felt an immediate attraction to him. We dated for a couple of years and before I knew it, we were at the altar saying our vows.
Barry decided to write his own vows and this is what he said,
I, Barry, choose you Sandra,
To be no other than yourself,
Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know.
I will respect you as an individual, a partner, and an equal.
I promise to laugh with you when times are good, and comfort you when they are bad.
I will always adore, honour and encourage you.
I will love you always.
No, I don’t have world’s best memory, I only know he said all this because I have a copy of them in our wedding album (no doubt for argument’s sake down the line)! One line really stood out for me when I glanced over it the other day to show my second cousin a photo. I guess you could say it was the instigator for this piece. The line ‘I choose you to be no other than yourself, Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know’. Barry knew me as this amazingly innocent, angelic girl. I had a very calm nature and was always extremely patient. But what I also was, was a push over. Now I’m not saying that kind people are push overs, but they can be taken advantage of, and that happened to me for many years.
When I had my first child in 1978, something in the hormones must have reincarnated me. I became much more confident and was able to speak to strangers at the shops. I could make friends easily and I, for the first time, told someone to piss off (big step for me, they were trying to break into a neighbour’s car).
One day that I feel my new behaviour was validated was the day that I applied for a teaching position at a nearby school. The principal asked if I had children and I said yes, a 13-month-old. He pretty much showed me the door there and then but I wouldn’t have a bar of it. Rewind to even 2 years prior and I would have been like ‘righto, off I go’ and scurry away. I stood my ground and told him that I was a competent mother but also wanted my career. I gave him a fully planned-out idea of how it would work with a young baby and lo and behold, I worked at the same school for 22 years.
Things weren’t just starting to change in my work life, they were changing at home too. When I met Barry, I was a virgin and had no idea about men in the slightest. After the baby I had a rush of stamina and our sex life was never better…I still don’t think he knows what got into me! I also dyed my long hair hair blonde and chopped and changed it so much in the 80s that I’m surprised my scalp didn’t go bald in protest! I wasn’t trying to shed the old me, I honestly believe I was this confident, outspoken woman I am now, all my life.
I’m not like that woman Barry married, but I’m happy I’m not. We all change and adapt but I could never have stayed the way I was just to uphold my side of the bargain. He has truly trusted what he did not know about me, and isn’t that what marriage is all about?
Have you had a similar situation to Sandra’s? Have you changed since you were married? In good or ways? Tell us below.