Thursday, June 17, 2010

What is a spouse?

I started thinking this evening, while my husband was working late, what is a spouse?  There's this sense that it's that person you love and you decide you don't want to see anyone else.  Is that it?

I beg to differ.  A spouse, a real husband or wife, is so much more.  You are the one that receives the other at the end of each night. Every evening, when they return from the war of the world, you take them in. It doesn't matter if they won or lost, if they were profitable or not.  You take them as they are.

When you say your vows, you are essentially saying that you'll accept them as people. You won't judge every action or punish them for change.  You will see them for who they are, even if that's as far from the person you married as possible. We change. Life changes us.  Ideally it changes us for the better.

When my husband brought me to Brazil for the first time we had been married for 2 months or so.  I was 23 years old. I thought I knew everything. I knew nothing.  My poor husband. I was a very sheltered and innocent little girl.  And I rebelled. I rebelled against being sheltered, I rebelled against Portuguese, I rebelled against my husband.  He had a cross to bare and it was me.

Almost 7 years later, I'm a shell of the person I once was.  Don't get me wrong, the shell is the good part of who I was.  It's the essence of me, the rest is what developed once I opened my eyes.  The rest is what happened when I stopped being scared of the world.  I never even knew I was scared.

I'll never forget when my now husband told me he loved me shortly after coming up to San Diego, as his family tells me now, to get his future wife.  I asked him why he loved me (it had been all of 2 weeks or so).  He told me he loved me for the woman I would become.  In all my immaturity I was angry and scared.  What about the woman I am now?  He was and is a smart man. He never pointed out that I wasn't quite a woman yet.  He just told me that he could see the womanly greatness that will come out of me.  I didn't get it.

I get it now.  I am lucky to be able to say that I married a partner, not a spouse or a husband, a partner.


  1. Very sweet. Well done.

    Luiz and I have agreed that being committed spouses and life partners means that we forgive each other our shortcomings. No resentment, just forgiveness and joyfull acceptance.

    What melted your rebellion against Portuguese? I feel ya there.

  2. Beautiful, Rachel. I hope to meet him someday!

  3. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I could say so much but I'm actually moved by what you wrote so I want to linger with it! bjs you ever start questioning your English? Seriously, I just doubted if I spelled beautiful correcty or not?!