I’ve been thinking about freedom lately, and what it means to be free. Brooke and I have talked about this some and we’ve discussed what society means when it uses the word “freedom.” For example, we were watching the movie Definitely, Maybe last night and there was a quick line about freedom. Being a romantic comedy, of course, this line was about marriage taking your freedom: when you get married you give up your freedom.
In one sense this is true. Being married means that I can’t (or don’t) make brash decisions. I don’t decide at the last minute to leave for the weekend on a hiking trip; I don’t blast music when Brooke is trying to sleep; I spend money a little differently — more goes to a house and to clothes than it did when I was single.
But honestly, these are pretty shallow freedoms. Basically, being married means that I don’t always act on my first impulse all the time — like if I want to go camping I ask Brooke what works for her, rather than packing the car. Either way, I still get to go camping. If I think we should spend our money differently, we talk about it. But, for anyone who knows me, you know that I already have more access to money being married to Brooke than I ever did on my own, and it’s good to take care of the house and wear clothes that don’t make you look like you’re homeless. I still get time alone, I still get time with friends, I’m going back to school with the help of my wife (another thing much harder to do on my own) — I have trouble thinking of any real freedom that I have given up by marrying Brooke.
On the other hand, I’ve gained freedom. Sure, I may wait another weekend to go camping, but I have gained unconditional love and relationship. Brooke and I were talking last night about how simply being in a relationship of unconditional love, it has freed us from insecurities and fears. I’m not as self-conscious as I used to be: I’m now loved unconditionally. I can completely be at ease and myself with this person. Even more, in some way I am more of myself than I was when I was single: I have someone to laugh with, to challenge me, to encourage and support me, to simply be with me. All of those things help me become more of who I really am. Brooke doing this to me, and me being able to laugh with, challenge, encourage and support her are incredibly freeing actions.
Just some thoughts on freedom today — and what freedom really means. Not everyone needs marriage to find this freedom, but I do believe everyone needs to find unconditional love to find greater freedom. Everyone needs to be in a relationship of unconditional love. Because more than simply listening to the latest impulse, unconditional love loosens the chains of self-doubt and self-consciousness to allow me to be who I really am. And that is freedom at its deepest.