October 9, 2009
It’s hard to believe that seven years have passed since my wedding day on the hill beside the lake. I remember the very strange marriage vows we were made to repeat, and watching my husband’s eyes grow in disbelief as he realized that the minister was reading the wrong vows. My husband gave a slight shake of his head, indicating we shouldn’t say anything, and from there, every line the minister said made us giggle, until he finally said something meaningful for both of us to repeat: “I promise to love, honour, and respect you.”
After seven years, I know I am just beginning to understand how important that promise is. Marriage isn’t easy, but with those three principles, I grew into it. We both understand that truly beautiful moments must be cared for and nourished.
Statistics Canada announced that, for the first time in history, more women in Canada are working than men. This has a huge impact on the need for women to marry, with fewer women today choosing that option than ever before. I wonder if having fewer marriages will actually alter our ability as a society to be innovative?
Growing up with a twin brother taught me how different women and men are. I saw the world through my brother’s eyes and it was a very different world than what I saw through my own. By combining our views, the world seemed much bigger. Perhaps I am just reflecting my own experience, but when you combine the masculine and feminine vision with the strong emotional support that a healthy marriage gives, productive energy is hard to stop.
Before I was married I used to wonder how women could change the very way they defined themselves. I feared change. I know now that it doesn’t mean you lose yourself, but that you grow bigger. A good marriage adds to who you are; it creates a shield around you and a springboard to launch from. I think marriage has made me much more open to other points of view and able to see the various ladders of inference that people so often get on. I know it has made me a much better negotiator than I was before and I think a much better leader.
Today I asked my husband if he would mind if I ran for Mayor of Toronto. I know deep down he’ll support me in whatever I choose to do. But I also know it is a big choice that both of us must make together. He looked at me and asked why I would want to surround myself with special interest groups, unions, and politicians. He has a good point. But my goal is to inspire and motivate women to step up to the plate, to take action, to lead. How can I preach this without doing it myself?
Our marriage has given me strength, determination, and vision, but also a huge sense of gratitude. I must somehow give back what I’ve been given …and then some.
Sarah Thomson, CEO and Publisher of Women’s Post ran for council in West Hamilton at the age of 29.