I close my eyes long enough, and we’re drifting in the northern Pacific. The sky is frighteningly dark & the waters lap up against the massive iceberg, save for the woman at the top of it who paints new hues into the sky and deafens the waters with her silent courage.
It’s less than three weeks ‘til the wedding now, and I wish I could tell you that our relationship is electrified by those kinds of images all the time. It isn’t.
When Kasey & I first stuck our roots down and got into a relationship, everything about her was mysterious & exciting. It didn’t take much for me to learn new stuff about her every day. Almost everything about the relationship we had felt mysterious & exciting, too.
So for the first few months, the whole ‘in love’ thing felt like falling. Our imagination was live with images trying to grasp the new person we were experiencing.
I threw all my creative energies trying to find ways to love kasey, and I wasn’t keeping a tab. Our words oozed with affection when we talked to each other & about each other. That’s why I don’t have criticism for people that talk about ‘falling in love.’ It felt true to our story, like we’d tripped into something we didn’t choose but wouldn’t choose out of.
I’m not sure when it happened, but over time our relationship has become something else. I honestly think it’s like anything that’s always there in your life. You become familiar with it, and the moment you become familiar with it you begin to assume it.
And when you just assume things or people, you stop seeing them for what they actually are.
So that stripped the shine off our relationship. Magic gave way to comfort, affection gave way to sarcasm, and romance gave way to familiarity.
To me, relationships are living, breathing things that are always growing or dying. With three weeks out to the wedding, I’m wrestling with how our relationship might grow more beautiful now that familiarity has set in.
I mean, doesn’t it only get worse when you live with them? Come home to them? Eat at the same dinner table as them? Sleep in the same bed as them? Holy crap.
Kasey & I were doing whole lots of nothing a few Saturdays ago when I tried something I hadn’t in months. I tried to see her in a new way.
I took some stuff I loved about her—amazing painter, makes stuff a little more beautiful wherever she goes, her consistency, that I get to be her best friend—and I used my imagination to try to see her in a new way, and out came the first sentence above.
I chose unfamiliarity.
And in some small, ordinary way I felt like I got to see her for who she actually was.
We’ll both probably have to do that a lot for the rest of our lives. Maybe people fall in love with people, things, God, vocations, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends; I don’t think that love keeps growing unless you’re willing to find your own way of choosing unfamiliarity.
It strips us of boring assumptions and helps us see that stuff is always, always, always more beautiful than we’re currently seeing it.
And we all need that, right?
photo credit: the one & only brian petry. he took these pictures about a year ago, actually. check him out at petryphotography.net