Showing posts with label relationship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label relationship. Show all posts

Rilke and Rumi quotes

I just finished reading This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness and found it  pretty thought provoking. Sure, I spent of lot of thinking what the author was keeping inside her own head ("you're being such a pushover!" etc.) but it was interesting for it. It is a rather powerful idea that you can choose to responsible for your own happiness by not making it dependent on things that are outside your control.

And it's almost inspiring, in a way, that she valued her relationship with her husband (or at least, who he was truly when he wasn't depressed about his lack of career success) and their children to work in the way she chose to hold it together. She's not some passive woman who just couldn't bear the thought of being alone or anything. You can read her initial essay, "Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear" for a primer.

Anyway, she mentions some quotes from Rilke and Rumi that they included in their ceremony, that resonated with me:

Rilke, translated from the German by Stephen Mitchell
The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.
Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all out tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far into life, is solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.

Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become world, to become world for himself for another's sake. It is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things. Only in this sense, as the task of working at themselves ("to hearken and to hammer day and night"), might young people use the love that is given them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must save and gather for along, long time still), is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives as yet scarcely suffice.
From Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

APW on money and weddings

From "What I Learned About Money While Planning My Wedding":
What I mean to say is this: when you do not have unlimited resources and you are planning a wedding, sometimes every moment feels like a painful negotiation. You can't afford the things that it seems like everyone else has, shopping for a wedding dress can feel like h*ll, and finding a venue can become you're worst nightmare. If you're at all like me, planning a wedding can feel like you are thinking about money all the time, and learning to hate it.
...
Once you make a financial decision that feels right to you - stick to your guns. Wedding planning can be a constant pattern of second guessing - "Well, so and so self-catered, maybe we should do that?" This. Will. Drive. You. Mad. If your choice was right for you, that's it. You're done, and you're fine.
...
Try not to become obsessed with your target budget. Pay what feels right to you, and what you feel like you can afford. If you end up a little under or a little over budget? Its fine. Because guess what? You don't have to report your budget to anyone. So be kind to yourself, and remember that you did your best.
Dan and I have had fair number of contentious discussions regarding the wedding budget. One of the things that makes it difficult for us is that he has his 'respect tradition/family' thing so that certain things must be adhered to (extended family must be invited, there must be sufficient food) but he doesn't care about aesthetics at all and he very much cares about building up savings as much as possible.

Whereas for me, I thought I'd be ok with just eloping or a City Hall wedding + restaurant meal initially, but once it had to be in the format of a large party (though 100 is evidently on the smaller side for weddings, the single biggest event I've ever coordinated was for maybe 50 people? and that was a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at that), I have a certain minimal style and general 'nice-ness' requirements that have to be met. And now I'm looking forward to the fun of the projects and pretty, too.

The conflict makes me upset because we run into it fairly often on any sort of joint ventures. Dan's frugalness has the by-product of making me feel guilty for making him go along with what I want, which I then resent because I don't think my minimum requirements are outrageous by any means. And he just doesn't care about the things that I care about. I do have expensive taste sometimes but I don't always indulge in it entirely, and I'm willing to do some hunting if needed.

We just signed the lease on a new apartment, actually, as our sublet is up soon and I just don't love it where we're currently living. The new place was renovated just a year ago and has gorgeous flooring, kitchen, and windows that face south for the most part, with additional windows in the bedroom that face east and a window in the living room that faces west (the best layout for Northern Hemisphere homes, in my opinion).

The main big drawback of the unit is the lack of storage space, and already we've started arguing a bit over how to deal with the issue. Sigh. So it goes, though.

I leave you with this wreath made from book pages. As a total book nerd it does make me cringe a bit to think about tearing out the pages, but, the texture!

You're The One That I Want

I'm in California for the week for work, and on the Caltrain into San Francisco this morning, 'You're The One That I Want' came up on my iPod and I thought, wouldn't this make a freaking awesome first dance song?


Here is my conversation with Dan over text message:
me: hey if we do a first dance could we do 'you're the one that i want' from grease? it's upbeat and catchy and we won't have awkward minutes of people watching us sway to some slow romantic song
dan: we'll discuss it
me: is that your way of saying 'no this triggers my hassle-causing nontraditional monitor but i am trying to not spoil your fun and shoot down every idea'?
dan: that's one interpretation of my choice of words
Actually Dan was more skeptical of the whole dancing thing at our venue and with our timing/choice of food, but I've seen photos online of people using the lower patio area as a dance floor. I will find a way to make it happen, I want dancing! Perhaps I will appoint Emily and Caitlin to be dance captains in charge of getting people to dance. Maybe that level of responsibility will distract Emily from her nefarious plan to get all my girlfriends to wear dresses of the same color so people think they are all bridesmaids.

Also, as with most ideas, it turns out this isn't nearly as original as I thought it would be. I've also never felt quite right about Sandy's makeover at the end of the film and it all feeds into the 'women must use their sexuality [strike 1] to force men to change [strike 2: men have to be changed] into marriageable material' thing. But, it's still fun and catchy (I couldn't get it out of my head all day today, kept bopping as I walked around SF) and it'd be funny, I think.

The sentiment would be a little bit more solemn for the ceremony, of course, though I think it's probably good to keep some levity in there too. As a life philosophy I try not to take myself too seriously. I really loved this quote posted by A Cupcake Wedding the other day, by David Sarasohn in an article titled, 'A Joint Account That Underwrites Our Marriage':
Being married to someone you respect for being somehow better than you keeps affection alive. That this impressive person chooses you year after year makes you more pleased with yourself, fueling the kind of mutual self-esteem that can get you through decades.
Dan does, in fact, make me want to be a better person, and a good chunk of my love for him is that he loves me. He is a fundamentally good person, and he chooses me. So I must not be too bad, too. The sentiment of 'you're the one that I want' turns out to be quite romantic after all, I think.

A link for my own future reference: various sample ceremonies at A Cupcake Wedding to peruse.

Feminism and weddings

Wedding Graduate, Part II: Sarah & Feminism & Weddings
I still felt skeptical toward weddings and the institution of marriage, which I associated with a stereotyped version of heterosexuality. Straight weddings, to my mind, symbolized the idealization of heterosexuality over other forms of loving relationships. Also, I was really bothered by how much we celebrate the couple, rather than the individual, at a wedding. Why don’t we celebrate the achievements of single and independent men and women with as much fanfare as we celebrate a wedding? It bothered me that women, in particular, are supposed to see our marriages, and thus our wedding days, as the singular greatest achievements of our lives—except, perhaps for becoming mothers.

When my fiancĂ© and I got engaged, I had no doubt that he was the person I wanted to spend my life with and I found myself really excited about both the marriage and the wedding. But I also found myself feeling guilty and embarrassed about being excited—I couldn’t reconcile that with the skepticism I still felt toward weddings and marriage on a political level. I can say in retrospect that even the most basic decisions we made in planning the wedding were emotionally fraught for me because of this. At the time, however, I did not let myself fully explore the dilemma I was facing, I think because I was afraid that if I examined it too closely I would be forced to choose between my feminist politics and my excitement over the wedding and marriage; in other words, that I could be either an unmarried, or reluctantly married feminist, or an enthusiastically married non-feminist, but not both.

Now that we are married, I cannot say I’ve entirely worked out this dilemma, but my perspective on the cultural and personal significance of weddings and marriage has definitely shifted since we first become engaged. I feel, for one, much more comfortable with the idea that relationships are the singular greatest achievements in our lives—all of our lives, men and women. I think we must all pursue our individual dreams and use our own talents to the best of our abilities and that these dreams and talents must be nurtured and celebrated, but I have also come to realize that we need deep, mutually caring relationships with others to live fulfilling lives.

These do not need to be marital relationships. But what my own wedding showed me was that weddings are not actually about the marital relationship alone. Weddings are usually public, communal celebrations because they exist to celebrate the family and community of the couple—not just the couple themselves. Our wedding was the most amazing day of my life not only because I got to celebrate my love for my husband, but also because I got to experience the depth of the relationships we have with so many other people, the closeness and love that surrounds us on all sides. It filled me with gratitude and helped me to take all of my relationships more seriously, less for granted. There is nothing in this that challenges my feminism at all—I’m still just as committed to female autonomy and gender egalitarianism. It’s just that I now think that “autonomy” is best achieved in the context of a web of loving, committed relationships, not by separating oneself.

The other thing I worried a lot about was whether I was being too materialistic in thinking about the aesthetics of our wedding as much as I did during the planning process. Was I shallow, for instance, for seeking out a beautiful set of four white birch branches to use as chuppah poles, rather than using the free plastic ones we could have gotten from our synagogue? Now that the wedding has come and gone, I’m glad we used the (stunningly beautiful) white birch branches. I think it is fine to want our weddings to be rewarding to all of our senses: caring about the way things look, the tastiness of the food, all the textures and colors of the day is fine. In Judaism, it’s called “beautifying the commandment”—it means that there is actually an ethical value in making rituals, such as the wedding ceremony, pleasing to the eye and other senses. This does NOT give us license to flaunt wealth or break the bank if we don’t have it; there is a subtle but real line between ethical and unethical uses of aesthetics, I think. In the end, we had a wedding budget that we stuck pretty closely to, and we had no wedding debt. I wish I had given myself less grief over not throwing the lowest cost, most Spartan wedding possible!
In the last paragraph (pretty much the one part I did not pull into here), Sarah also encourages people to seek couples counseling. I've been musing over the officiant thing, considering friends of ours that would be willing to perform the ceremony and then researching professionals who specialize in melding different faith/cultural backgrounds (April Beer, for example).

Now I'm thinking it would be nice for us to be able to be married by the same person we'd go to for pre-martial counseling, like the role a priest would have served, but I haven't found someone like that through my initial searching just yet. Let me know if you have any potential leads. I'm going to try reaching out to our benefits/perks team at work to see if that might be something they could assist in finding a contact with too.

On having a dissimilar partner

Wedding Graduate: Rebecca of Princess Max
you and your partner may not be on the same page about what makes a perfect wedding and that’s OK, too. I remember feeling so frustrated with the wedding blogs I was reading because it seemed like every writer had a partner who was absolutely just like her because s/he was passionate about letterpress, too. My husband and I have very different aesthetic styles, very different socializing styles, very different relationships with our families, very different personal histories and very different religions. Each and every one of these differences had to be hashed out and that was exhausting. It was made worse by feeling like every other couple out there just needed to figure out whether they would have a rockabilly fiesta or gnomes-and-buttons campout because both were integral parts of their relationship. I had to remind myself constantly that loving someone is not reliant upon liking the same things they do.