On Growing Together
April 25, 2014
Have you ever adopted a hobby or pastime because of a significant other? With my first boyfriend I ended up watching a lot of hockey, consuming red meat, going mini-putting, and listening to country music when we were together. And once we had broken up, I quickly abandoned all traces of our shared hobbies, because, well, they just weren't me. And, I wonder, if we had stayed together, would they have become me eventually.
I've written before about the overlap of interests that develops in a long-term relationship. There's a balance of still being your own person, but also allowing yourself to grow along with another person. Sometimes you simply climb onboard for your partner's happiness - a happy compromise of some kind - and other times, their love for something opens the door to your own love for that same thing (i.e. Patricio developing a man crush on Colin Firth after repeated exposure to Pride & Prejudice).
Ten or so years ago, when I was still in the youth program at church, our leaders asked me and the other girls my age, to make a list of attributes we wanted in a future husband. I sort of rolled my eyes at the time, because I was fifteen, and that's what fifteen-year-olds do sometimes. But I made the list, and it went a little something like this: "Kind. Honest. Righteous." and then "Has good taste in music. Has good fashion sense. Is artistic. Can Cook. Good tastes in movies. Funny." And, sure, they were mostly a little shallow and specific and unimportant in comparison to "Kind. Honest. Righteous." But they seem meaningful to me now, because it was all of our many mutual interests - art, God, movies, music, animal rights - that lead me to befriend Patricio, and then to fall madly in love with him (because it also turned out he is one of the kindest and most honest people I know, with a great love for God - and I might as well add: A fantastic cook).
Anyway. We have spent our lives together so far honing those shared interests, inviting in something new the other has to share, becoming involved in the other's passions - and then sometimes disagreeing and standing our ground and knowing that sometimes it's okay to not agree on everything - growing and learning together.
And, I've found, within this safe environment - where I've been able to freely pursue my interests, to speak my mind, and be inspired by his passions - that I've never felt more like myself, or like I am becoming the person I was meant to be; that I always wanted to be. And I can only hope that I've made him feel the same way, too.
P.S. These photographs were from a quick trip to a local skatepark on a blissfully sunny day. After a long, hard winter, it was nice to see Patricio out on his board again. This is one of those aforementioned pastimes that I've learned to love through him.