The Gift of Freedom
I shall forever be grateful to my mother for her unorthodox and quirky view of the world and her great support for the emancipation of women. She has always been in favour of women having their own life and independence. She encouraged me and my sis to get an education and a career and whilst she thought that marriage was in principle ‘a good thing’ we were never made to feel that getting married was what we were put on this earth to do. Nor that being single would somehow mean you had failed in life.
On the other hand she passed on her own mother’s view of marriage which was that it was probably better to give it a try than not, and that if we did get married and it didn’t work out, we could always get a divorce.
The things I like most about these points of view are the good humour, the carrying of potentially life changing scenarios lightly and the feeling of freedom that these perspectives allow. There is the sense that marriage is a choice not an obligation and that nothing in life is finite or immutable. Also that we are individuals and we all have our own way of realising fulfilment in the world. There isn’t one particular way of being, whatever the common thinking dictates. For women of that time, their thinking was very advanced.
These words of wisdom were particularly relevant to me yesterday as Micky and I celebrated our twenty eighth wedding anniversary. My mother was delighted when we decided to get married because she recognised he was a good person and I also think she understood that we were marrying for love and no other reason.
She was right again. Micky is a good person and the main driver for our long relationship has undoubtedly been love.
One of the many things I appreciate about him is his complete resistance to the notion that he has the ability or right to curb my freedom in any way. He has never sought to control what I say or do and has always encouraged me to be myself and pursue my own thing.
When I decided to give up my career to stay at home with the kids it was my decision and mine alone. He would have been just as supportive had I decided to hire a nanny and go back to work. He has no interest in restricting my movements, made it clear from the start that he was definitely not expecting me to cook dinner for him every night and has always told me he thinks I am beautiful.
My coaching business is a source of considerable pride to him and he has encouraged me to push my boundaries and challenge myself. Whenever I am scared he gives me the confidence to try. He is the ultimate life coach. He and my mother and grandmother have a lot in common. And for the record he gets on brilliantly with my Dad too.
Interestingly one of the key things we disagree on is my preference for being OUT LOUD and saying what’s on my mind. He is definitely in the ‘some things are better left unsaid’ camp. And I do think he has a point – I may come back to that in a future blog because it’s something I think about a lot. But for the moment I would only repeat – as I have said many times before in this space – being OUT LOUD is not just a question of being vocal – it is to do with being fully expressed and Micky is I believe a true advocate of that idea.
Co-incidentally we celebrated something else yesterday too. In the morning Micky came in to my office, plonked himself down on the sofa and announced he had finally finished reading ‘The Idiot’ after fourteen long years.
As I contemplated this monumental achievement it occurred to me that tattered volume had indeed been a third presence in our relationship for rather a long time. Mostly to be found in its usual position on the floor by the bed, sometimes it was taken downstairs for an outing to the coffee table, and often accompanied us on trips abroad catching the eye of other intellectuals attracted by its old world charm. It will be strange to see it consigned to a bookshelf.
After I congratulated him, Micky solemnly offered three observations about Dostoevsky’s great work. I set them out here for your consideration;
- It’s the kind of book you can put down, pick up years later and still feel like you know what’s going on.
- It was a hard read but not a boring one.
- In the end one of the women was murdered.
We agreed that they may provide some interesting parallels to a marriage of twenty eight years. You may draw your own conclusions.
If you are contemplating or reflecting on that great engrossing and compelling topic, marriage or relationships – or not – and have something to say about them, please leave a comment below, the more offbeat the better; I’d love to hear about your views and experiences.
Ditto if you’d like to share a great read you are having or have had – especially the challenging, worthy or improving ones. And if you can match or even beat Micky’s awesome record of taking fourteen years to read one book, that would be super interesting to know about too.