The other day David got his wedding ring tattooed on his finger, mostly because he kept losing it. A couple of days before his tattoo appointment we were sitting at dinner, talking about him getting it. And I told him, “You know this is for real right? Like this is gonna be on your finger. Forever. You gotta be sure about this whole marriage thing, you know.” And I was kind of joking and kind of not.
Commitment is scary. Our generation seems to be afraid of it in particular. I know how it feels to be scared. I felt it when I signed my Teach for America contract. I felt it when we merged all our money. I felt it when I stamped “The Library of the Moss Family” in all our books. (Yes. My books, which I have been accumulating since childhood, all have my husbands last name in it. That’s when I knew that–come hell or high water– we were gonna have to make this thing work.)
On New Years Eve David and I sat down and talked about the past year, the next year… about where marriage is taken us so far and where we want to go. He asked me what I’d learned from being married. And I told him that I’m learning about being honest and vulnerable. That being with him is teaching me that sometimes, most of the time, when I’m brave, good things happen.
Commitment means you have to be brave. The other day David and I were talking and I was upset about something, which really, deep down, just meant I was scared. And I finally found the words that I had never had before. I explained to him that all my life, I’d had back ups… back up colleges, back up jobs, back up friends. And now, here I am, married–a situation where back ups are usually frowned upon. All of my metaphorical eggs in the basket of this covenant. And I think, what if he stops caring about my feelings or my anxiety ruins our relationship or we just drift apart, watching TV in seperate rooms (although I guess we’d have to get two TVs first)? It’s terrifying, this “going in all the way.”
But that’s the way you have to be married. All the way. No “I’ll see how things are two years in and then get the tattoo” or “How about I stamp my first name in all 327 books, just in case?” So I’m throwing all my eggs in our basket and hoping they don’t break, letting go of the concept of “back up plan” and being brave… trusting that good things will happen. (But don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’m not getting a tattoo. It looked like it hurt.)