Becoming a “We”

How getting married changed everything

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I was 29 years old when I married my wife Erin.  This meant that I had 28 years to become accustomed to me being the center of my universe.  Now, this is not to say that I had rejected altruism and the awareness that the most important thing in life was not myself.  Yet, the luxury of singleness is being single.  I could come and go as I pleased, I could make decisions that were predominately centered around my own desires, and at the end of the day, my own counsel was king.  

Then, in my 29th year I met Erin and I slowly began to experience the revolutionary process of moving from solely being a “me” to also being a “we.”  The Italian neuroscientist Ammaniti and Gallese talk about this process in their book The Birth of Intersubjectivity: Psychodynamics, Neuroscience, and Self.  They describe how the process of building loving bonds of attachment take two individuals from a “me to a we.”  What this means is a human relationship is joined in such a way that the two persons involved feel a deep biopsychosocial-spiritual connection that causes them to feel a profound sense of belonging with one another.  

Over the last 11 years with Erin I have found that my world does not just include my desires, thoughts, and intentions to act.  Rather, when I think about what I want, I also think about how this blends with what Erin wants.  When I make decisions I do not just consider my own voice but I take stock of what Erins’ voice may add to the process (This happens even if I am not with Erin talking about the impending decision.  I just have the conversation in my mind), and when I take action I do so in ways that reflect “what Erin would do too.”  

In all of this I have been brought into a new community of couplehood that I did not previously know.  I belong to, and with, someone else in a mystical manner that has altered how I desire, think, and act.  My whole life has been changed.  This change has allowed me to access new depths within myself and in discovering hidden truths about me, I am able to become a richer we with Erin.  Singer and Skerrett, in their book Positive Couple’s Therapy, call this process of dyadic joining, the development of a We-story.  I like this imagery.  Erin and I are creating something new, a story to be told about us.  I hope that as the years pass by we look back and have a sense that we have written a best seller.   

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