Family,  Journey,  Life,  Marriage,  Womanhood

&: A Reflection of its role in Marriage

Ah, the ampersand… the typographical equivalent to a wedding ring, marking permanent relationships. It may be strictly by coincidence that I am drawn to this symbol, considering it was once recognized in the 19th century as the 27th (my favorite number) letter in the alphabet, following ‘Z,’ and taught for years in the British schooling system. Although it was officially dropped from the alphabet, its draw and significance remains. It is absolutely a fascinating symbol that many designers, businesses, and people love to use, draw, re-create, and explore it’s many abilities to change yet remain the same. Someone once described it as a “shapeshifter that could change at a moment’s notice;” which brings me to my thoughts and draw to this symbol and its relation to well, relationships, in particular: marriage.

A wedding and the subsequent result of marriage is centered around the idea of “togetherness,” something that brings two individuals together… you are no longer just you, you become a part of the ampersand attached to another. You become a “Mr. and Mrs.” or “Mr. and Mr.” or “Mrs. and Mrs.,” etc. Whatever you become, what the significance of this newness lies within the ‘&.’

Now, don’t take this the wrong way here… I am not suggesting that once you are married, you are no longer you or lost or less important… on the contrary, I find that you become more you and this evolution of self to a part of a whole is extraordinary and extremely powerful. You become a committed piece to someone else’s identity and in merging our ‘selves’ into this union of togetherness, we find this fascinating journey from me to us and beyond.

I found myself reflecting on this as so many things have changed this year in my life and family that I gravitated to this golden & piece as a gift for my cousin who is getting married soon. I didn’t want to just oblige the standard gift registry requests (although I know how important these can be for newlyweds) but was seeking something to convey what I have learned through my marriage and in hopes to bestow something, even just a hint, into their newness together. We are none the wiser than when we can look back and see clearly, eh!? Each person, each couple, each set of commitments, vows, and journeys look very different and what works for one couple may even destroy another. That’s probably my first bit of advice: notice others but be careful to compare, comparison is rather dangerous and toxic in general in life but especially in relationships.

Back to my point of the ampersand and my reflection as it symbolizes marriage.

At your wedding, you will most likely stand in front of your treasured guests to exchange vows and promises to one another… you will promise to love, honor, cherish, respect, be faithful AND be this new joint identity of “husband & wife,” from this day on…

You become your partners other half… Maybe,

 

You become….

Ying & Yang

Husband & Wife

Husband & Husband

Wife & Wife

Sun & Moon

Stars & Clear Sky

The Storm & The Calm

Protector & Protected

Best Friend & Nemesis

Peace & Anger

Frustration & Pain

Healing Source & Friend

Compassionate & Kind

Reliable & Unreliable

Truth & Lies

Selfless & Selfish

Passionate & Lustful

Desired & Desiring

Gentle & Abrasive

Caregiver & Patient

Dependent & Dependable

Problem & Problem-Solver

Committed & Wavering

Happiness & Sadness

Difficult & Forgiving

Strong & Weak

Head & Heart

Hand & Hand

Mom & Dad

Grandma & Grandpa

Life & Death

&… (the list is endless really)

 

You are not necessarily all of these things or any of them at all… but in any synonymous or antonymous correlation, you become someone’s “other” and the exact otherness and roles will change… life evolves and circumstances change. Love evolves and with each passing day it looks very different from that first kiss, your wedding, it becomes a journey of two people crossing paths to (hopefully) sharing the same. Whatever your version looks like to you is one that is yours and my only advice on the matter is to be prepared for the times that you are one thing and your partner may be another, remember that just as the ampersand brought you together, it becomes a powerful force and strength to hold on to that can bind you together from this day forward and toward your ever-evolving “happily ever after.”

There is a lot of similarity in my eyes between the ampersand and the symbol of infinity… the difference lies within the idea that the ampersand is generally open on one (or maybe even both) end(s) which could be considered a representation of an individual becoming entwined and connected with another, forming a partnership, and no matter what choices you make in your marriage or what life may bring, you will always be connected.  There will be no degree of separation that can break the ampersand holding you together, even if you are apart. You may have struggles within your marriage or trials that you endure, the outcome hopefully brings you closer together and if taken seriously, the vows you once so anxiously and excitedly took will be reminded and re-committed to, time and time again. And when that day comes that the other part of your whole may no longer be with you, that you are able to remember in the & branded deep within your heart. 

My hope for myself and in my marriage, is to always find the strength when there is weakness and to find the happiness when there is stress or worry, to find my husband when we may be drifting… to uphold my promise to him to be his wife, for this life, and infinitely. It’s an overwhelming thought and feeling to consider deeply that I am no longer me, I am part of this & that has translated into what it means to be part of a union with another soul. It’s remarkable and profound. 

No matter where your ampersand begins or ends… there is significant togetherness that is offers, there are no guarantees in life unfortunately but my hope is that we may find solace and comfort, strength and even happiness even if we know that although nothing lasts forever, there is always an &.

 

With Love & Gratitude,

Chandra

I’d like to dedicate this reflection of togetherness symbolized with the ampersand to my cousin, Rachel and her fiancé, Adam; along with my aunt Courtney and uncle Craig for their examples and demonstrations of this concept of togetherness in varying degrees and express my appreciation to their demonstrations of what exactly it means to love & be loved. Rachel, your new love excites me and refreshes my own. Craig & Courtney, your infinite love grounds me and humbles me into a dimension that reaches deep within my soul and moves me to love harder and appreciate more than I ever have before. xo

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *