Freedom in Commitment

The Atlantic published a wisdom-filled letter-to-the-editor a couple days ago from a gentleman describing what he'd learned in four decades of marriage. I encourage you to read his letter in full, as well as the article it was in response to. I was especially moved by his third piece of advice, "Freedom in Commitment"

"Most successful art or invention is born inside constraint.  What is beautiful or functional is shaped by boundaries. They say "here, but not there." Commitment is a sorting hat that crisply defines what belongs and what doesn't. Those edges are a source of freedom: they declare that you don't have to worry or consider what's outside of them." 

I enjoyed this bit of advice for two reasons. The first is that when asked why I liked producing theatre, I'd often quote a similar line - that most successful art develops within some kind of structure and order. As producer, I enjoyed being the one to create and maintain that structure and order while the artists created their art, and I truly do think it's an essential part of the creative process and I liked being part of that. What's funny is that until I myself got married, I didn't realize it also applied to marriage.

When people ask what surprised me most about marriage I always say that I was surprised by the sense of freedom. Before getting married, I feared that I'd one day feel trapped - that despite the fact that I was marrying someone amazing and perfect for me, somehow the institution of marriage would undoubtedly bound me and I'd lose my independence. But it was the complete opposite. For the first time in years and years and years I felt truly free. It's a beautiful feeling. So though it may not ring true for everyone, I love that this writer finally described what I've always been unable to explain - and did it so well and so wisely.