I was forty-two when I married for the first time. I’d lived alone for most of the twenty years since college, and I had a full life of work, friends, and church. I’d owned my own house for six years, and I’d spent that time making it a home—albeit a home for one. When I married, everything changed.
I moved forty-five minutes away into my husband’s home, which we shared with his three boys the weeks they weren’t with their mom. Moving away meant leaving the church I’d been part of for the past sixteen years—his church became our church and it was different in every way I could imagine from the one I left behind. And though I remained employed by the same company, I started working part-time and mostly from home in a town where the majority of the people I knew lived in the same house as me. I left behind simpler things too, like trading Trader Joe’s and Starbucks for a rural Walmart Supercenter and a locally owned coffee shop that closed at 4:00 p.m. Who knew a forty-five-minute drive was all it took to make it to a whole new world?
These were sacrifices I was willing, even eager, to make as I married my husband. And, really, they barely felt like sacrifices. I love him, and from the moment we decided to share our lives together, we’ve both made changes to our lives for the sake of the other. But what I didn’t understand at the time is that sacrificing for another, even in marriage, doesn’t have to mean losing who I am.
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Originally published at Fathom Magazine on February 11, 2021.