After the Dust Settles: The Start of a Lifelong Journey

This morning I woke up mad. This time of the semester gets hectic and balancing the grad projects with working full time is new enough in itself, but for the past 2 weeks I’ve had a pretty bad cold, not to mention the enormous lifestyle change of marriage. Plus my brother had been visiting since Sunday, and though I love the guy, the term “handful” could be accurately applied to describe him.

So this morning, I woke up and my head was pounding and I, mentally going over the presentation I have due tonight at 7 that I am as yet unprepared to give, trying to figure out how I’m going to both complete this presentation and show up and do work at my job, looked over at my husband. He was sleeping peacefully, a half-smile on his lips, wrapped snugly in his blanket with, I kid you not, a stream of sunlight from the window caressing his face, illuminating his bliss.

I wanted to hit him.

This week, my hubby and I have been having a series of spats that I can pretty much only describe as me being mad that I have to go to school and work while my hubby gets to stay home and (in my mind) day drink, relax, watch Will Ferrell movies, eat ice cream and just generally do everything awesome.

And it has made me realize how much marriage hasn’t changed me. What do you do when the dust settles from the whirlwind courtship and you take a look around and at yourself…and you realize you’re the same person? Good and bad.

Though I never consciously thought it, for some reason I assumed that I was now a new person in marriage, similar to the way you’re supposed to be a new person in Christ once you get baptized. But actually really, really similar to my Christian experience, now that the notion of “being married” has worn off, I’m starting to see that “being married” does not make me a new person, but rather, that I will have to amend and adjust my person in order to be married.

I have often compared my relationship with God and my Christianity to a marriage if for no other reason than the fact that…having made a conscious choice to devote myself to God and Christianity…I can’t just up and quit it. I can’t justify that to myself. So I have to make it work.

But when I got saved and baptized and joined a church…I thought that was the destination. The end of the road. Everything would fall into place from there. I’m not supposed to drink or cuss or fornicate or party (hehe or do anything else fun)….I assumed that I would come out of that water not wanting to.

Similar to how now, with being married, I assumed I would come out of that courthouse cured of all of my negative relationship habits.  Cured of my insecurities, of my temper, of my mentality that if I’m not having fun you shouldn’t get to either! Damnit! (Or you should at least try to seem like you’re miserable for solidarity’s sake). Or all the other little things, like making assumptions instead of talking to your partner.

I thought that being married would make me a wife. People have, of course, been telling me that marriage would be work…and it’s not that I didn’t think it would be work…but I didn’t know that a lot of that work would be internal. Working daily to become the wife who was in a healthy and happy marriage.

It has been two years since I got baptized and committed myself to Christianity. I have been to hell and back, excuse the horribly inappropriate phrase, in trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian and how to then apply that in a way that both fit with my nature and brought me closer to God.

Have I figured it out?

Uh…I went on a church hiatus this year, went back for about 3 Sundays, and haven’t been for the past 2. I don’t hang around in Christian circles; I don’t read my bible except for when something in me goes “You have too much negativity going on…you need some positive reinforcement.” This is NOT daily. I fall asleep before praying at night frequently.

But you know what? My faith that everything will be OK in the end, after two years of stressing and crying and cursing the unsurity of the universe…is nigh unshakable. My feeling that I am loved and valued is strong, much stronger than when my journey began. My desire and follow-through on being a kind and loving and helpful person have grown by leaps and bounds.

Am I a model Christian? No. Is my relationship with God as good as it could be? Not even a little.

But is it better than it was when I started? Do I have peace about it and my religious status overall? Have I grown as a person and in my faith? Yes, yes, yes. And do I remain committed, whatever that means?

Yes.

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9 responses to “After the Dust Settles: The Start of a Lifelong Journey

  1. I appreciate the refreshing honest in you writing. I can relate. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I spent seventeen years in a miserably bad marriage, and ten years in a wonderful marriage, fortunately in that order.
    Here is the thing about married life.
    What is good for you is good for him, and what is good for him is also good for you. Keeping score is not productive, because it is all about “us” now.
    When you are ticked with each other, you need to take a deep breath, give a moment’s thought to what is deep down bothering you, and say it civilly with no yelling, sarcasm, insults, etc. Discuss, don’t fight. There will be a learning curve, and that is okay, but try to walk away until you can speak calmly.
    Also don’t wait until you are totally PO’d to raise the subject either. Talk early and get it out of the way.
    Remember that your goal is to get his point of view, not to complain or win. Try to assume that he means well, and wants to make you happy, but is underinformed about your preferences.
    Whether it is leaving the toilet seat up or sleeping in, the point usually is this: I don’t feel cared for when…
    I don’t know what the reason is that your new hubby isn’t working or looking for a job, but if you need him to be doing that to feel that he is meeting your needs, then he needs to know that. Funny, but he probably won’t know that until you tell him. Go figure.
    Your first goal in life now is to make him happy, and vice versa. Both of you need to give 100%, not 50/50. If you both are committed to do that, it isn’t nearly so hard!
    Jodi
    PS The best passage in the Bible for love issues is 1 Corinthians 13.

  3. Thanks for that advice, Jodi. It’s all so new to me, and people tell you so many things, and the advice that I absolutely hate is “expect to suffer.” Yesterday I made up my mind that the only way I will be happy is by having faith in him and, like you said, assuming he means well. I want to look forward to coming home. He lived in a city about 3 hours away and he just moved down last Wednesday, so it just hasn’t been very long. But I have faith in my hubby and faith in us and faith in all things good in general. And plans to be happy no matter how hard I have to work for it and/or cling to it.

  4. And actually, he had asked me to wake him when I was leaving for the day so he could get a jump start on the job search so it was literally just a temper flare

  5. People who say, “Expect to suffer” have bad marriages. I wouldn’t listen to a thing that they say!
    Yeah, sometimes it just takes a deep breath and a bit of perspective to get your mind in a better place. 🙂

  6. Great post. You hit on something that took me years to realize: Life is a work in progress. And thank goodness for that–if we got it right from the start, what would there be left to discover?

    Enjoy the journey. It’s not always easy, but when you see progress in yourself, that’s what makes the effort worthwhile.

    • thanks for the advice/feedback, and thanks for reading. yeah hubby and i were talking about that the other night, how we’re going to be presented with a lot of learning opportunities now because we’re in something that neither of us has ever experienced before

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