Living with arms wide open

A tale of embracing change

When I got married, I didn’t understand my role. Nor did I understand that a committed relationship is largely a journey of acceptance — of the other person and of oneself. It’s also a wonderful vehicle for letting go of accumulated emotional baggage, which means that buttons will be pushed in order to let go of said baggage. This is, of course, done by first becoming aware of it, then dealing with it — nothing is allowed to be swept under the rug otherwise it will come back to haunt you.

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." ― Khalil Gibran


I learned how to compromise. More importantly, I learned how Armand and I complement one another. Once I figured that out, things got really great, but it took me almost messing everything up to realize what a good thing I had. Luckily I realized that there was, indeed, a solid foundation to create the life I had dreamed of with the man who is perfect for me...if I was willing to embrace change.

Ours is not a traditional marriage; we each work from home and have our own businesses. Not to mention that our cat, Izzy, is our child (and she knows it!) While it's not the family I envisioned back in my teens, it works for us. And it's good.

"Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask yourself this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use."— Carlos Castaneda

It’s been a gradual process of embracing change to reach true acceptance — and to reignite my passion for life. Yup, lots of baby steps! Because hey, it’s hard to go from fiercely independent to being comfortable as one-half of a couple, while still maintaining a sense of identity.

I've had to learn a lot. I've had to change a lot, too.

Humor has played a big role in getting us through the ups and downs and in reaching compromise, and I honestly think laughing every day has helped us.

I still laugh every time I look at photos of our apartment after I'd moved in with Armand. Our tastes and approach to design couldn't have been further apart! It took six years to find an aesthetic that works for both of us. Six. Years.

What I have since discovered is that this “compromise and complement” element of a union is a very good thing in all aspects of our relationship. When I began the complete home renovation project in 2013 — which is still a work in progress — my goal was to find a design aesthetic that matches who we are as a couple, while still allowing the individuality of each of us to shine. So he got his minimalism, I got my flowers, art and textiles, and everything is cat-friendly. Everyone in our little, non-traditional family wins!

I think the main reason our marriage has survived the Big Tests thrown at it so far is because it's a priority and because we both embrace change with open arms. We communicate and keep showing up for each other, and most importantly, we accept one another. Because hey, if you go on this journey of togetherness to fix yourself -- or your partner -- one of you is always going to feel broken.

I’ve grown more with Armand than I could have imagined. He continues to challenge me to develop in ways I never knew I could, so I keep embracing the changes with open arms!


“Those who improve with age embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth with wisdom, innocence with understanding, and lack of purpose with self-actualization.” — Bo Bennett