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I met my husband, Mark, in a local production of the musical Les Miserables. We both grew up performing and with a deep love for music and theater, so it was so fun to meet and fall in love doing something we both are passionate about. Our courtship lasted through rehearsals and performances, and after we were married the next year we performed together again in a popular local version of A Christmas Carol.
Fast forward eight years to two kids, two master’s degrees, and much less time for musical theater! Both of us have sacrificed a lot for our family, and one of those things has been performing in shows. When you’re a parent, you often set aside passions, dreams, or pieces of yourself in order to focus on and give to your children. However, it is SO important to remember that you do not have to (nor should you) completely lose yourself, or these important pieces of you, in your parenting! Work alongside your partner and your kids to support each other in making time for the things that make you YOU.
Over the last few months, I have stepped back into the world of theater to perform as The Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods (a dream role for me in one of my very favorite musicals). This has been possible only due to the incredible support of Mark and our kids. He has completely taken over evenings and bedtimes (a responsibility that we usually share) so that I am able to go play and continue to develop my talents. It has been so much fun for me, and has filled my cup in a way that I don’t think anything else could have.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t the first time we have facilitated time for each other’s individual hobbies and passions in our marriage. In fact, before my journey into the woods, I sacrificed to allow for Mark’s participation in two different local community theater productions. Mark and I have made individual time for play an important part of our marital culture. Over the years, we have prioritized each other’s dreams and goals to pursue higher education, encouraged each other to learn new skills and talents, fostered meaningful friendships that have widened and strengthened both our individual and couple support networks, and invested time and money in things that bring us joy. Allowing for individual development has increased our connection and development as a couple over the years, as our own personal growth and fulfillment have continued to progress.
In addition, play time as a couple is an important part of our marriage relationship. Over our years together, we have intentionally continued to date one another. We have budgeted and made time for fun activities that give us the opportunity to connect, talk, laugh, create, move, and just BE together. This mutual effort to invest in our marriage has brought us closer together, and has kept our love for each other strong as we have navigated the challenges that come along with building a life together.
I am so grateful that Mark and our kids have given me the time and space to participate in this show. The experience has brought me joy and taught me many lessons that I feel will allow me to be a better and more present partner and mother. It also has reinforced to me the fact that personal growth and couple growth are very closely connected. When you make time for play, both together and apart, your lives and your hearts will become more intertwined, and you will find more joy and meaning in your relationship.