Recognizing the obvious

Let’s start with something that should be quite obvious:

Marriage is a union, to be sure, but it’s a union that should liberate, not incarcerate. Real love shouldn’t limit a person’s potential, it should expand it.

Seth Adam Smith is at it again:

I’m sure it may come as a shock to some people, but I let my wife go. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but it was the right thing for the both of us.

He’s not talking about divorce, of course. Let’s get real. Instead it seems he’s finally realized something that should’ve been quite obvious to him for quite a long while: different people are different. He even goes so far as to admit that he and his wife are near polar opposites. In the midst of the poetic allegory of his article, he derives a point of view from either Ever After or Fiddler on the Roof (though he attributes the quote to his wife): "A fish may love a bird, but where would they live?"

And from this he comes up with the idea of a birdbath:

The bird bath is a symbol for our middle ground—the place where we come together—but it’s also the place from which we feel comfortable to let each other go. To "let go" of someone is to love them enough to let them fly or swim away (or to be themselves) and yet trust that they will always come back.

Sounds very poetic and romantic, doesn’t it? That old "let him/her go, and if it was meant to be, they’ll come back to you". Has he been watching Serendipity on repeat? Now given that movie stars Kate Beckinsale, I wouldn’t blame him, but… moving on…

Real love tells me to let Kim fly and trust that she’ll always come back. I have to let her go so she can chase her dreams, pursue her education, and develop her talents. Additionally, I have to let go of my fears that she might fly away and never come back. If the fish were to clip the bird’s wings, he would risk trimming her dreams and smothering her altogether.

Let’s rewind, shall we? In response to your previous article called "Marriage Isn’t For You" (my rebuttal here), you elaborated on the situation to NBC Today:

As Smith explained to, he began to struggle as Kim became ever more dedicated to her graduate studies in theater, which led the couple to relocate to Florida. Feeling isolated, Smith said he began to push Kim away.

Looking back, Smith knows his behavior was defensive, but he couldn’t help it when the tension culminated in an argument. Smith had been expecting this “ticking time bomb,” anticipating a blowout with Kim mustering just as much anger and frustration as he felt.

And now you’re talking about letting your wife "fly away" and hoping she’ll always be coming back home to you. Okay either you’ve got your mind filled with poetic allegory that you write down simply because it sounds good – hey I play on words myself as well, it’s why I have a blog – or you truly are delusional.

All of your poetic allegory can be boiled down to one sentence: Recognize each other’s differences and communicate with each other in how to work those differences, as well as your similarities, toward something workable for a sustainable and, hopefully, stable future. But then that’s not poetic is it? Or obscure for that matter.

Here’s the thing every couple needs to learn at some point, preferably long before wedding rings enter the picture: you each will want to do your own separate things. It’s a common point of advice for couples that you each have your own separate hobbies, things you like to do apart from each other, even… taking separate vacations (gasp!). But at the same time, whatever activities or hobbies you take on should not be to the detriment of your relationship and life together. If one person loves to travel, but you don’t have the money to do it, compromises have to be made.

Your wife is pursuing graduate studies in theater. You are pursuing swimming. Now what you need to do is find out how both of you can make your separate passions workable toward a mutual goal of a life together. It doesn’t take a birdbath analogy to recognize that, nor to express it. The analogy is poetic, I’ll admit, but wholly unnecessary.

So instead of "letting them go", what you actually need to be doing is being an active, but realistic source of encouragement. Familiarize yourself with what your wife is pursuing, and encourage your wife to become familiar with what you pursue. You needn’t share passions, but being familiar will allow you to be encouraging and understanding at the same time. At the same time, you need to be an ear for your wife when she wants to unload, and vice versa. This is where having a basic understanding of her passions and pursuits will be of great importance and assistance.

But you also need to have the courage to tell your wife when her pursuits are harming your relationship. This, as I mentioned in my earlier article, requires communication. It requires you being honest with each other. I’m not entirely sure if you’re at that point. Instead it sounds like you’re trying to rationalize away something by using hindsight and deriving a birdbath.