I recently got new ballet slippers. I'm no ballerina, but I take class and I finally decided to get myself some real dance shoes. Standing in first position at a ballet barre makes me feel like I'm in college again -- and trust me, that's no small feat. They felt uncomfortable when I first put them on, too tight at the toes and funny bumps under my feet. As I put myself in position to dance I thought, "These pink shoes are like my marriage."
When I first met my husband, he too, felt like a terrible fit. He was nine years younger and a smoker with a shaved head -- there was no way he was right for me. Despite my attraction to his intelligence and nice tush, I left the party where we met certain I had dodged a time-wasting bullet.
I was reminded of this the other morning when I wanted to rip those shoes off my feet. I broke up with my husband six months in to our courtship. He was from California and did everything too slowly. He had way too much faith in human kindness for me and his traditional values of placing family above all else would surely choke me. Eight years and two children later, I guess I was wrong.
So I decided to keep the shoes on.
I suspected that, like my marriage, the more I wore them, the better they would feel. And that the areas that feel constricting now will become the places that support my feet the most.
As with any good shoe, my husband and I continue to conform to each other to walk through life better.
Sometimes we even dance.