I'm going to cheat today and point you toward something I found very interesting. A few weeks ago I watched an Oprah Show which really caught my attention. Dave and I have watched Lance Armstrong and marveled over his achievements for years. So, we were shocked when his marriage fell apart a few years ago. I was most impressed with his ex-wife in this Oprah interview. She puts none of the blame on Lance himself, but it's quite obvious that his life enveloped hers and took away her personal identity. The rest of the show was spent talking about the realities of marriage and the changes that women go through once they become married. None of it was anti-marriage, but more a warning to be very aware of the commitment you are making to become a different person.
The show is based upon an article written by Kristen Armstrong in Glamour Magazine. It is a really candid and wonderful discussion of how she lost her sense of self in marriage. It can be found here.
Then the link to the Oprah Show I mentioned -- and all the links, synopsis, and other materials -- can be found here.
I think all women can relate to this issue. I think the message is that in the middle of motherhood and wifedom you must keep the things that are important to yourself alive. I'll leave you with this quote from Kristen's article:
"If your husband asks what you think, tell him. If you have a preference, voice it. If you have a question, ask it. If you want to cry, bawl. If you need help, raise your hand and jump up and down. I spent five years juggling kids, travel, cooking, smoothing. I never once said that I couldn't do it on my own, or that I was just plain tired. I became a prisoner to my own inability to say uncle when life squeezed me too hard. The warden was pride, and I remained in maximum security.
The time may come when you realize that the only way to restore the meaning to your marriage is to get back the real you. It requires warrior-size courage to take a stand against the miscommunication, deception and emotional distance that breed in the shadows of inauthenticity. You will have to boldly step up to the line and speak from your heart. You will have to own your words (spoken and unspoken), your actions (done and undone) and the consequences of both. If I ever marry again, I will have cue cards prepared with "Yes, I do know what I want," "Make me laugh and I'll get over it" and "I need you, please help me."
I know that one day my daughters will face these same challenges. At age four they are already starting to form their own dreams of a handsome prince on a white horse. Without destroying the beautiful elements of their innocence, I long to prevent them from a disappointment like mine —so with each step between now and then, I vow to myself and to them to be real. I hope that as they watch me painstakingly reclaim my hard-earned authenticity, they will manage to guard their own. And when they do decide to wed, they will bring to their marriages the greatest gift of all: a unique and unshakable sense of self."