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.