How Do You Share A Life With Someone?

It’s so much more than sharing time

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

“…for better or worse, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?”

Until death do we part.

My eyes never wavered from hers, and yet something behind my pupils, behind my lids, behind my mask, flinched.

My brain had already departed. It hopped from my body, sloshing back down the aisle to the now-closed double-doors. The doors my bride-to-be emerged from. Emerged in her white dress. In her half-veil. The half-veil I’d never seen but had practiced folding up to kiss her. We’d practiced our first kiss. I wondered if she practiced the first kiss with the other man she’d been with a few weeks earlier.

The practicing, at least our practicing, stopped after I discovered this.

Until death do we part.

My brain tried its best to pull my heart with it. To escape while it could. But my heart wouldn’t listen. It twisted its veins and arteries around my body, locking itself in.

“I do.”

The flinch again. I could feel my brain give off one last sigh as it left the room. It had done what it could, but it realized it was of no use.

We kissed as instructed.

It looked like how we’d practiced.

It didn’t feel like it.

In front of our closest friends and family, we announced we’d share our lives with one another. We didn’t make it that long.

So how exactly do you share your life with someone?

A Funny Little Thought

Back before all of this. Before uncovering the unfaithful side of my partner. Before the trap door in my emotional tower opened and sent my chest and mind plummeting into the foggy mist of unknown. Before everything, we were happy. At least I was happy.

I’d look at her and know I wanted to marry her. I wanted her to be mine forever.

The thing was, I didn’t really think about forever.

I thought about benchmark moments. A house. Kids. Other Game of Life events. But I didn’t consider what happens in between. I thought about sharing moments. I didn’t consider sharing a life.

It’s a funny little thought. Sharing life.

For several years we shared time together. Although time is a concept. A way to measure how things change. In reality, time is more of an illusion than anything else. Which, when looking back at my own relationship, would make sense. If we shared time we’d have the same experiences. The same emotional reactions and outcomes from those experiences. We didn’t. So, instead, time became nothing more than ways for us to measure how our relationship changed. Splintered. Fell apart.

Does that mean we shared nothing except the experience of change? And If I didn’t share time with the woman I had loved, how could I have shared my life with her?

Sharing A Life Is Sharing The Change

Sharing a life is so much more than being present for activities and events. Yes, dinner parties and nights out with other couple friends help strengthen a relationship bond, but it doesn’t make it a shared life. And yet sitting next to a love, watching the clock tick by doesn’t equal sharing life either.

Sharing a life isn’t about being present. It’s not about holding hands and not letting go. It’s about sharing change.

Because, what is life other than a series of changes?

Doesn’t it seem like life goes by faster the older you get? How when you were a child, a single calendar month felt like years, and the final five minutes of school dragged like a flat bike tire through mud.

Why is that?

No, it’s not because fate has a cruel sense of humor as it wheels us all closer to death.

It’s because, for the most part, change happened few and far between as a child. And with every passing year, there’s more change. Jobs, moving, relationships, cars, discovering bald spots and crows feet.

As an adult, it can feel like nothing changes. But instead, everything changes.

And sharing a life with someone is about sharing the change. Not sharing the space between.

Because anyone can sit with you during the consistent. Not everyone will sit with you during the change. (It’s also why you have fewer friends now than you did before. Not all friendships are built for change).

This is what sharing a life is all about. It’s about sharing change.

There For The Change

Being there for someone through change and sharing these changes isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s why sharing a life is so difficult.

Because sooner or later, there’s a good chance one of those changes might take you away from your partner, or your partner away from you.

Have you ever tried to explain a story to someone and said something along the lines of, “one moment everything is going great, and then the next moment, everything fell apart”? If you have, you’re not wrong in explaining your emotions like this. It’s because the moment everything fell apart was the moment change truly took hold, and when change happens, there’s very little turning back.

There’s a romanticized idea of finding that perfect someone who will always be there with you. Who will be there by your side? Who will accept change with you and continue on, evolving along the way? There’s nothing wrong with this idea. It’s a beautiful one. It’s also so hard to find. And while I hate to admit it, there’s a great deal of luck.

Because while change might affect some couples in the exact same way, that’s not always how it goes. But you know what? That’s okay. It can be hard to accept, but it is part of life. It’s part of my life and likely part of yours.

If you’ve been through your own experience that has taken your significant other away, or you away from your significant other, it’s okay to feel sad or frustrated or upset or confused. It’s okay to feel nothing, everything, and anything in between.

While you might not have been able to share all of life together, what you have shared has made you into who you are today.

Perhaps you don’t fully need an “until death do you part” life, but instead, a life well shared.

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