It doesn’t always work

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It’s been a rough few days over here.

When we stop respecting each other and in turn start ignoring the express wishes of our partners…it makes for some rocky roads. Proclamations of love are categorically unbelievable; all readily available evidence would support the opposite being truth.

Lots of tears. Lots of heartache. Misunderstandings and  sometimes deliberate ignorance.

Placing blame does nothing. We can play he said/she said for days and no one will ever win. Pride will ensure that in all participating parties.

But I believe we will get through it. We haven’t been irreparably vexed yet, and we’re more mature and level-headed than we have been in the past.  Refraining from emotional (over)reactions is a practiced skill, one you KNOW i can’t long say I’ve mastered, but it’s definitely one I know I am personally working on.

One of our blog “tags” is “how it works,” but this week, it doesn’t.

It will again, though.

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Home

So one day I was sitting in class in college, bored out of my skull (it was pathophysiology. Come on. Give me some slack) and surfing the internet landed me at the highly addicting site, Pinterest.

Sigh.

I LOVE Pinterest.

Anyway. Typically annoying Mormon female, here, I have a Pinterest problem.

Though my boards aren’t full of Releif-Society-crafts and varied-holiday-themed home decor (my Batman board is pretty epic, not going to lie!) they are pretty full.

Not too long ago I was surfing through and I found this. And it was just PERFECT. And I LOVE it.

Maybe even more now, because we’ve just spent the past three days this weekend moving to a new (old 🙂 ) place, after being in one city for our whole 10 years of marriage, the last 7 of which were in one house. But anyway.

I shared it with my hubs. It’s how he makes me feel.

We went to a friend’s wedding a few years ago and during part of the ceremony she said to her groom, through tears of emotion, something along these lines, that he made her feel like she was home. I’ve just always thought it such a beautiful sentiment.

And it’s EXACTLY how I feel about MY mister.

I didn’t date around a whole bunch when I was younger, but I’ve never with anyone else ever been just so…COMFORTABLE.  Another Pinterest gem I found one days says “home is where the pants aren’t” which makes me giggle, but the suggestion of emotional/psychological & physical contentedness is bang on.

With him I can be me. Unashamedly, one hundred percent, just me. Me on my good days, and bad days. My fat days, and my hot-mama days. My nagging, lazy, pyjama-pants and B.O. days, and my fancy-schmancy, productive, fashionista days.

With him I am home. No matter which me wakes up in the morning I am always free to be just that me.  I have it made in the shade. He makes me love being me, because he loves me so.

Love you, babe. Thanks for giving me a home, no matter where we are, who we’re with, or what we believe. Here’s to us, our girls, and our new home.

10 Years

Today is our tenth anniversary.

Ten years.

I can’t get over the fact that I’m even old enough to have been married for ten years, though some would argue that I’m definitely not and was a moron young bride… (TOTALLY was!)

I met my husband when we were both youth in the Church, through the other girls in my stake I’d met at girls’ camp, when we were all FINALLY old enough to start going to dances. (Yes, Mormons dance. I don’t know where that rumour that we don’t dance comes from? Maybe because we’re so awesome at it? <em>shudder</em>)

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I don’t remember the first time ever we met, but I do remember, generally, being struck by this boy. He was a little older, a little quirky, a little brilliantly intelligent and interesting, and a LOT beautiful; my GOSH his smile!

He used to wear the dumbest outfit to the dances, and I just loved it. A bright, BRIGHT orange Hawaiian shirt, buttoned up and accessorized with a black and yellow smiley-face tie.  The man was a stunner.

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I remember one night we were all – a whack load of us from our circle – at my house, and he left the group to go hang out in the yard on the trampoline. Which, in hindsight, was really weird; there was no one else out there. What did he go outside for? What a weirdo! 😉

Our friends, knowing I was more or less smitten, jumped all over me the second the door closed behind him:

Now’s your chance! Get out there! Ohmigosh, GO!! So, eventually, I followed.

All I remember about that evening is laying on the trampoline with a good friend, listening to him prattle off all sorts of fascinating information about the various constellations and star patterns. And not in a pretentious, annoying, trying-to-impress-a-girl way, but just in a dorky, I-know-and-am-interested-in-this-stuff way.

I fell in love, I swear.

When I was 16 a girlfriend of mine who is the little sister of a guy friend of HIS, knowing of my admiration, URGED him to tell me…I don’t know what. But basically he needed to deal with the whole…thing…I had for him.  I thought I was doing fairly well on my own, admiring from a distance, with no pressure or attempts to progress our acquaintance to “the next level” or anything.

So when I got this email from him, it was TOTALLY out of the blue:

Well, I’ve put off giving you a response till now (selfish, I’m sorry) because I’ve been trying to figure some things out, about me, and others, and about just where things stand between me and others. If that’s a little unclear, I’m being purposefully vague. Unfortunately, I find my feelings toward you to be plutonic. You are a good friend, but I don’t see our relationship in a romantic light.  Again, sorry.  I don’t want what we have to decay, but I just don’t see us together like that. 

Your friend, sheepishly,

[Him]

……TOTALLY OUT OF THE FREAKING BLUE!! I had NO IDEA he had a clue I had a crush on him. And my gosh, at 16? I called my mom into the office to decipher the meaning of “plutonic” for my Neanderthal vocabulary skills!

(…why I still have this email is a whole different can or worms best left for another day, but let me just say he’s apparently NOT the only one with issues!)

Somehow, after that and the fact that a week after I got the plutonic email he started dating some scrawny little doe-eyed number from an adjacent stake, our friendship survived.

We grew up, stayed in minimal contact during his time on his mission in Korea and mine in Utah at BYU, and one day, when he was home and I was on a break from school, our paths crossed again.

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We were thrilled to see each other. We made plans to hang out, NOT to go on a date, for the next evening, to catch up on the couple years we’d both missed; catching up with old friends is always exciting.

By the end of our 13-hour non-date the next day, I was head over heels again. Good grief. I don’t believe in soul mates, but he and I are apparently about as perfect a fit as can be if my heart has anything to say about it! One day with him and I’m in agony because I know I can never be with him because he’s not interested. He wrote it in an email 4 years ago! (Which I didn’t know I still had at that point…I’m not crazy enough that I like, read it before bed every night or anything. ….NOW I do… 😉 kidding).

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Apparently, while I’m sitting thinking, <em>that dang email</em> he’s sitting across from me thinking pretty much the same thing. I don’t know what changed, which of us had matured (both, I’m sure) or why I was suddenly for him, but it worked.

A month later we started a long-distance relationship. Then I got deported (BOOYah!) when I had mono (best semester at school EVER) and we picked up where we’d left off. I came home in March. He proposed in June. We were married in October.

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We’ve had lots of ups and downs since then, not the least of which is our newfound difference of religious opinions, but I wouldn’t trade the ride and the journey together for anything, or anyone. Sure I wish he were better at doing the dishes or turning off the computer and paying attention to me (as I sit here and blog this – I know, I know), and I find his social ineptness hilarious and irritations at different times, depending on my own mood. And goodness do I know there are things about me he wishes he could change. But me and him? We’re a pair.

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He’s my best friend. My confidante. My support, my love. We don’t currently agree about things of the Gospel, or even which Deity may be the real deal, or whether the Holy Ghost is an actual entity or a psychological reaction to comforting environments and teachings, but he is now and forevermore MY mister.

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Happy anniversary, babe. Here’s to another 4.6 years to beat the odds, and another lifetime after that. I love your guts.

Not Giving Up

What a blessing this blog has already turned out to be! The enormous, POSITIVE response we’ve gotten is astounding!

As your comments roll into our Facebook inboxes, our emails, and now even on the actual posts themselves (hi, Reddit! WE’RE ON REDDIT!!!) we have the marvellous opportunity to share and laugh and cry with each other about your wonderful insight, experiences, and comforting words.

As I posted earlier in the week, THANK you, so much, for the overwhelming, amazing reception.

One of you used this wording in a message to me on Facebook, and I’m so glad you did!  You said: “…I think I would react much like you did. I really admire that you didn’t just give up on your marriage and you fought for it.”

…..“I really admire that you didn’t just give up on your marriage…”

Sigh.

Can I just tell you how tempted I was?

Here I sat, actually right in this very spot on this couch (isn’t it weird how we often gravitate to “our spot” – sleep on the same side of the bed, sit in the same spot on the couch… ohmigosh, I’m Sheldon!) across from my husband who I was struggling to like, anyway, and he’s completely tearing my world apart.

Why should I stay with him? There’s nothing for me here.  Nothing but heartache, disappointment, fatigue….

Prior to his announcement I had wondered to myself over and over what may be the best way to “knock some sense into him” or get him to “step up” and “get it together” and all sorts of other cliche you-suck-smarten-up ideas.  If we had lived closer to our families at the time I think it very likely we would have ended up separated, at least for some time, as I honestly felt it may be the only thing that could possibly get through to him.  I never did it because our daughter was in school, he had work…I couldn’t figure out the logistics of how it would all work if we separated and I was NOT willing to pay the full bills of a second home locally.

When he told me of his decision regarding the Church, I was floored, and I wanted out.  I thought my marriage was over.

…for about a millisecond.

I KNOW that initial conversation was almost impossible for him; it’s the most difficult conversation I’ve ever had in my life, no exaggeration.  But as repulsed and horrified as I was, I CARED.

When he started sobbing, expressing his concern and agony over the previous months that his newfound dissatisfaction with our faith may cause him to lose me as his wife, part of me thought, well, DUH, I’m OUT OF HERE!  But the part of me that’s a little more reasonable ACHED for the pain he was experiencing.

When he hurts, I hurt. When he cries, I DIE. He’s my Mister, and I love him. To see him hurting is brutal; I can’t stand it.

And he was hurting.

We decided then and there that we KNEW we loved each other, DO love each other, and would always love each other.  And while I know the words in the temple sealing ceremony that we were married with don’t explicitly use the phrase “for better or for worse” I personally go to that phrase ALL THE TIME.

For better or worse doesn’t mean I only love him when he’s happy, when he’s successful. When our hopes, dreams, goals, and ideas are all meshed perfectly in sync. When we like the same food, watch the same movies, and play all the same games.  It doesn’t mean when he loses his job and we’re scraping by on employment insurance that I can ditch him for someone who maybe “works harder,” or that when he’s oppressed by depression that I get to ship him off and select a mentally stable companion.

For better or worse doesn’t mean that when my depression hinders me from functioning as a wife and mother that he tosses me to the curb, or that when my weight balloons out of control and I hate myself that he can decide he does to and trade me in for the latest Young Women’s graduate.

It means we’re in this. For good. For bad. For everything. We’re in this together. Whatever this is, it’s ours.

I didn’t marry him because he was perfect. Nor because I expected him to be perfect! Heck, when we got married he was a socially awkward dork with pants that made his hips look bigger than mine and almost zero social skills, such that when we started dating a mutual acquaintance of ours pulled me aside and told me NOT to date him because he’s such a nasty son-of-a-gun and no one likes him!  (Telling that same acquaintance about our relationship flipping to the ‘serious’ category? Best. Conversation. EVER.)  And he didn’t marry ME because I was perfect. Gosh, I was so imperfect a missionary once teaching our Sunday School class actually interrupted his own lesson in front of everyone and asked my Mister “is this the woman you really want raising your children?” in all seriousness. It was BRILLIANT. (We didn’t like that Elder very much…but apparently he didn’t like me either, so we’re good!)

Anyway. I didn’t leave him.  I won’t.  He’s mine, and I love him.  Sometimes we forget how awesome we are and how much we enjoy being each other’s person, but he’s my person.  With him, I’m home.  I’ve never felt like that with anyone else ever, and I never will, because this is it for me.

Your Response

Wow. Wow wow wow.

THANK you!

I felt like we needed to share our experience, and we both took a leap of faith. What an overwhelming response we’ve had.

Thank you all for the kind words, love, and support. For both of us.

We’ve heard from camps on each side of the fence. Whichever side you’re on, I PROMISE you’re not alone. Goodness, me. We aren’t either, apparently. There are so many like us out there, like you. The feeling of isolation and even guilt we sometimes burden ourselves with is completely unnecessary!

Communication is one of the most important things in a marriage, I believe. And in our counselling on and off this past year (therapy is where all the cool kids hang out! Hahaha) we learned about its integral role in marriage intimacy – so much more than just a physical piece of the puzzle.

Recently he was chatting with a friend struggling to understand his own doubts and questions about the doctrines of the Church, and both lamented the difficulty of doing so: it’s so TABOO. When doubts arise and attempts to assuage them with honest searching, reading, and questioning ensues that may bring more unclarity or questions to some, the response from camp-believers is often along the lines of oh-just-don’t-look-at-that; brush it under the rug, forget about it, and it will go away.

But how on EARTH can that be the right answer? If, in the Gospel, we are lovers of a Truth, how can we possibly dissuade someone’s searching to understand just that?

Currently, my search has left me FIRMLY encamped in the beliefs I was raised with. I feel with conviction the truthfulness of Christ’s Gospel and the teachings he has left for us. They bring me peace, hope, clarity, and purpose in my life.

My mister, in his search, has found it necessary to remove himself from my side of the fence. He’s pitched his tent opposite. He believes there may be a Creative force or power, but sees no specific evidence to support that that power is specifically, only, or at all limited to the view and understanding that I have of a Deity.

For me to be able to go through my life openly discussing, being, and immersing myself in my Mormon belief while forcing him to hush up, keep his questions to himself, and deny his feelings and/or his conclusions is ludicrous. And it’s NOT what I believe to be Christian.

We profess  in this Church to believe, as listed in the Article of Faith, that all men should be given the same, brilliant, privilege of being able to worship “how, where or what they may.” How can I believe that and not act in such a way as to allow it in my own household?

And so, for now, we agree to disagree. We work to support one another in our sides. We openly discuss new ideas, thoughts, and information we find. We sometimes laugh at each other’s moronic views (me: how can you be so stupid to let the adversary take over your life like that? Him: how can you be so fooled and brainwashed into believing a bunch of warm fuzzy feelings are a special being telling you things and not just indigestion? 😉 ) and we tease.

But we love each other. And we love our girls.

We’ve had some great questions come in – I will do my best to get answers posted quickly! Please, keep them coming!

Thanks for your love and support. We’re both pretty awesome, you know. Even though we may never again agree on this one thing. But we’re made better by our people. That’s where you come in. 🙂