Being married for 10 years has meant some considerable shifts in my perspective and sense of self. While my fundamental commitment to joy, honour, and wisdom remain central, I have come to recognize how valuable and important some things are that I have previously ill considered.
Persistence was something that I have always been mindful of growing, but the past decade has shown me that the greatest ally of persistence is patience. Patience is the grace that we give ourselves, to find the things that we might be missing or misunderstanding. Patience is a favour for everyone, both because it makes us more reliable and because it lets us actually think before we act instead of just reacting to emotion. Patience is what lets us lure our opportunities back when otherwise we would chase them away.
These 10 years have let me shed many of my defenses, and with them much of my defensiveness. Much of it I wasn't even aware of until I started questioning why I was having difficulty being felt and understood. Which is deeply ironic, considering that most of the armour was grown specifically to protect me from feeling bad about being misunderstood and unheard. Facing the sadness and fear is how I live honestly with myself and my loved ones, now.
I have been learning empathy. It has been hard to learn, largely because of how sensitive and raw my own feelings often seem - which drives me to hide inwardly, or behind jokes. But I persist, because empathy is really about learning the language of another person's self. When you can address another person to their own self, it is a profound connection to share. We can find such connections accidentally, or when you are fortunate enough to be with another person with such a talent. But as all people change continuously, so too must we keep empathizing, to keep re-learning how to connect deeply, truly.
In recent years, I have stopped trying to be cool. Not because I don't want to be cool, or because I think I can't be. Nor is it because of some self-contradictory reverse-psychology cat-luring scheme. Instead it has been gradually made evident that it is possible to incrementally improve the existence we share by being warm. Instead of being aloof, and imperturbable, and stylistically correct, we can be open, and honest, and giving. We can laugh at ourselves, and at the ridiculousness of reality, and get on with making it better - because we care to. By being warm, I hope to try to make life for everybody how has to experience me a little less shitty than it could otherwise be.
All of this, in varying degrees, I attribute to being married to my wife. Some because of how remarkable and wonderful she is. Some because of how she challenges me, or how we have been challenged. Being married these past 10 years have been the best thing I have done, so far.