There's no way to know ahead of time exactly what your marriage is going to be like. I certainly didn't know for mine. For the first few years my learning came from experience.
I don't know whether my husband suspected something was wrong before I did, or whether he took me to a therapist simply because he was in graduate school learning how to be a therapist himself. We had been married for a couple of years—long enough for the honeymoon to definitely be over.
What I remember most vividly from that first session was confessing one of my shortcomings—about not really being excited by music my husband loved. What the therapist said was a revelation. He told me it was okay for me to continue to love Opera even though my husband loved jazz. Until that moment both Jonathan and I believed that it was my job to give up what I loved and embrace what he loved in every area of our lives.
I wish I'd known that you don't have to give up yourself to be in a marriage.
By trying to turn myself into that mythological one I was supposed to become after we got married, I had assumed that I had to give up anything about myself that he didn't like and that in exchange he was supposed to fulfill all my emotional needs. Women have progressed since then but not as much as I wish we had.
Even now, some women still try to shut down important parts of themselves to merge with their partners. That didn't work in 1960 and it doesn't work now.
I assumed my marriage would be traditional, a lot like my mother's. I thought that my purpose in life was to be a wife and mother. I assumed that I would be responsible for the household, for the grocery shopping and for the childcare. I also assumed that he would be the sole wage earner in the family.
My husband shared some of those assumptions. But there were two problems. One, I didn't know which assumptions he shared, and two, I was working outside the home to support us while he attended school.
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