Thursday, June 30, 2016

Autism Answer: Being Married (The Value of Commitment)

I have been happily married for sixteen years now. And honestly, although seemingly not much changed in our relationship after we took our vows, one important all encompassing life altering thing did.

Being married meant, to me, that I had made a choice. That now we would find a way to make it work. 

As girlfriend and boyfriend there was this feeling that I was "trying something on, seeing how it fit" and so I was only partially committed. Part of me was still being critical and curious; focusing on how the relationship made me feel while staying open to the possibility of something better. However, once we decided to get married I became happily and passionately committed! 

Much like being a mom (with my sons I never wondered if I should break up when our relationship was challenging, instead I found ways to make life work smoothly again) being married has meant approaching problems with an absolute desire to figure something out. It's honestly been life changing! 

Thanks to my marriage, I can now do this quite easily in all of my relationships. 
My husband and I are absolutely different, so obviously different, in fact, that we are constantly asked how on earth we ended up together. In conversation my hubby and I hardly ever agree on anything! We don't even like any of the same foods. In almost every aspect of our long, lovely marriage together, we don't agree. 

This has taught me to seek the sameness underneath. 

In my marriage it's a strong love of family, a deep respect for each other, and a desire to love and be loved for who we are, not who we might become. 

With everyone in the world there are sameness's. A need to be loved and understood, a desire to protect ourselves and our loved ones, a feeling of individuality along with one of connectedness. These are some places where pretty much all of us are the same. Being married to someone so different from me has helped me seek these sameness's rather than immediately "break up" with or disregard people because of the clashing differences that sit on top. 

I am committed; to myself, in my marriage, as a mom, in my love with nature, and to most of the people I meet.  

I don't believe that being married is the only way to learn this important life lesson, of course. It can be learned as a parent, employee, community volunteer, or business owner. I could go on and on. 

The point is: I encourage all of us to see the value in commitment. Not only to our spouses and friends, but to every being on our struggling planet. When we're committed, when we aren't wondering if we should "break up" with our problems or inconveniences, we have an impressive capacity to create effective solutions. Our problems become less problematic when we know that they are a puzzle we can solve, if we commit ourselves.

For sixteen years I have tried to get my husband to see the importance of organic foods and the value of turning off the tv, while he as tried to convince me that humans are naturally cruel and that there are good reasons to judge people who dress too sexy. The list of things we still debate and passionately disagree on is longer than you can likely imagine.

But although my husband and I don't agree on much, we do agree on this: We have been happily married for sixteen years. 

Not because we are the same and not because we don't talk about our differences. But because we are committed to making it work; for both of us. 
There are many things I like about being married. 

That most of all!

Hugs, smiles, and love!! 
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Edit: Sometimes we commit to a marriage or relationship and not the people in it, and that is a dangerous mistake. Unhappiness and abuse are almost always the result. But when we commit to people, when we choose carefully the ones we keep close, the value of seeking sameness remains clear. And, friends, walking away can take great commitment! When my sons move out, when I leave an abusive friend, when I say no to helping my step-daughter, this takes great commitment to myself and our sameness! I trust they can find what they need elsewhere, as I can