You are separate, but not so much so that you can forget about that glorious unit you want to come back to - and so it becomes a balancing act. This is a nuance that I hadn't fully experienced before we were married, and one I'm still trying to wrap my mind around.
As it so happens, I picked up My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme, the other day. I've been devouring every mouth-watering description so far! The thing that is standing out to me more than her lovely descriptions of Paris and more than the delicious details of her cooking is the relationship with her husband, Paul.
He is everything you would want in a spouse, and everything you would want to be as a spouse. He introduces her to new ideas and places. He rejoices in her successful experiments and quietly endures the failed ones. He engages with the world around them with the same curious enthusiasm as Julia herself. And he encourages her, endlessly encourages her, to continue. He sees that for her to not follow her passion is simply not an option.
There are times when he refers to himself as the "Cordon Bleu Widower" he sees Julia so little. Another time he writes in a letter to his brother how amazing it is to watch her work in the kitchen. He adds, of course, if he wants to see her the only way to do so is by watching her in the kitchen.
I wonder if he ever felt that they were out of balance during those times? I wonder if he ever struggled to give her that endless support? I wonder how they kept that glorious unit (and by all accounts, it was GLORIOUS) afloat and healthy.
While I find Julia Child amazing, inspiring and absolutely lovable beyond words, I'm really inspired by the strong, quiet and loving fortitude that Paul Child seems to exude. It's something that I aspire to in my own relationship.
p.s. We just returned from Italy last night! More to come...