Oh marriage, you and your nonsense, romance, and folly.
My husband, Justin and I are coming up on our 25th wedding anniversary.
He was 22 when we met.
I thought he was wise for his years – he had facial hair and could buy beer legally.
Wranglers and worn work boots, he said stuff like, “slide on over pumpkin,” and “Blondie, that’s some nice pink paint on your pretty toes.”
BE. STILL. MY. HEART.
It was only recently that I learned that he thought the words to our wedding march, played on a cassette tape of Amy Grant, were SKY WORD… like we were super heroes. It was in fact, THY WORD.
Never the less, the wedding vows took and here we are together longer than we were apart, nearly 25 years later.
And it’s been an interesting 25 years.
Until he met me he’d never seen the ocean, left the country, or eaten Mormon potatoes.
Until I met him I’d never made out with someone with a moustache… or eaten bologna gravy.
We are a passionate people, he is nearly completely German. I am Scottish-Norwegian. We fight like a Nazi and a Viking, with yelling and insults to our great grandparent’s customs and character.
He likes Star Trek.
I am firmly committed to Star Wars.
Lately, we haven’t been getting along. And not because he refuses to understand how much better Han Solo is than Captain Kirk.
This is common sense. Kirk tries to be cool, Han is flat out cool. I don’t understand; the graphics are lame, and the depth of the Trilogy far outweighs the simplicity of Star Trek.
Here is where I could list a mountain of trespasses against Justin, if I wanted to, I could make them laugh out loud funny.
But, I won’t.
If he were a writer… or had more than a few sentences to express on any given day, I feel certain he would have a few things to say about me too.
This is where we are. Amid foster-care trauma, missing our recruit-baby, exponential changes, albeit positive, to his company, book writing, chasing the vandals, our 3 and 5-year-old sons, wedding planning, baby burping, doctorate school registration, potty-training, and ranch maintenance – we aren’t getting along.
We aren’t Chip and Joanna. Donald and Melania. Or the Captain and Tennille.
We are Justin and Jami.
This is how we roll, at least in the current season.
Perhaps we should look better. I know, I am a fraud. Why would you want to read what I am writing if all I have is complaints? Am I not studying for a doctorate degree in Marriage Counseling?
No, it’s not in shambles. Yes, we know how to be better. But honestly, what’s wrong with a season of ick? Certainly, there’s concern all will be lost, but I think we are better than that.
He’s my friend.
Granted, I have a couple of places I can think of that would be ideal locations to hide a body, but truly – I would miss him. And every morning I treat my skin and attempt to make it soft and youthful. I paint on red lips and curl my hair. I wear the same perfume I always wear… sometimes he notices.
It occurs to me we live in a hurry up and fix it society that doesn’t appreciate the rough patches. The seasons of grief – where we are one, but separate. Of course, I want things to run a little smoother and be more amicable… but I am not panicked.
Again, my God reveals to me the blessing of the seasons.
At my worst, I am still loved.
At his worst, I still love.
Decidedly, egos and buttheadedness seem to be a priority, but one or the other is also quite quick to point out, “Hey, this is getting out of hand.”
My grief for what we have lost and what we are losing are different than what Justin is experiencing. And it doesn’t say in the bible that we must do everything together? Grief is personal. God is personal.
My shelves probably contain the formula where we might be fixed, and yes… most certainly a pastor might stop by and insist I submit.
But I know Justin.
He doesn’t want some passive wall flower that nods her head and spits amen.
He wants me.
We are a family.
We live in the same house.
We parent the same banshees.
We know the same God.
Right now, we also have our grief. We know when to walk away and when to slide over. And I have every confidence we will grow old together, and even more, every blessed assurance God is with us – and for us.
Perhaps someday I’ll look back and regret that we weren’t sweeter and more in tune now, in this time and season… But I propose we will look back and acknowledge… that was hard, and here we are. The cooperate church and BIG Jesus have a list of things to do to fix me, while they inadvertently pick my marriage to death and then assign it certain failings.
I propose we instead – rest.
I submit to the fallacy of submission only in that I am willing to cry out, “UNCLE.”
In the urgency to bring sexy back or the terror of believing that all is lost, I desire to calmly step into a state of surrender where belief is the only requirement.
No… “OMG!!! We must behave as teenagers and whisper sweet nothings or we will pay for our betrayal and all will know the truth – we suck.”
Furthermore, this is where I believe our marriages are most failed by the teaching of a nasty and wrathful God, with his hell fire and brimstone. That God is not the God I know. You can’t convince me otherwise.
He knows me.
He knows Justin.
He likes us.
He loves us.
He is for us.
He is a God of restoration, if we let Him accomplish the work we are incapable of in our humanness.
It’s a marathon… not a sprint. This journey, this relationship – this marriage doesn’t have to look or behave like a romantic comedy. Granted, it’s one for the books, it is unpredictable, volatile, and fragile.
There are high speed chases, murder plots, arrest warrants, treasures, romance, intrigue, and mystery!
“Who the &*^% left the lid off the milk again???” and “What is this sticky blue stuff all over the cat????”
When did the repair fall to me and this man? When were our feeble attempts to successfully “fix” anything without Jesus effective?
I love him better now than I did when I was 19. But I am only human. To date, the road has only gotten bumpier, and I am tired of being tired. More, I am tired of thinking the battle is mine. Desperate is always pitiable. This damsel in distress sits in the high tower, hands tied and unwilling to tug at the ropes burrowing into my less than dainty writs.
To submit isn’t necessarily to give in or give up, instead it is to tumble into the place where I finally rest in the Great and Merciful Healer’s loving embrace.
This morning sitting at my vanity, I curled my hair, lashes, and primed my lips, a lump rose in my throat. Today is a long visit for our foster love; we are nearing the end. I had heated words with one of the semi-adult-babies. I must drive Justin’s monster diesel truck into town for the whole day, the lady-baby has my car. I know this is hardly an issue for some, but this truck/beast is freaking enormous and fickle as a two-year-old who lost his woobie. I miss the recruit-baby, we aren’t even half way to Bootcamp graduation. I am altogether weepy. I let out a little whimper out as I applied another coat of waterproof mascara… “Jesus… help.”
Immediately I noticed Justin stood in the doorway with a chair from our room. Coffee in hand and vandals on his heels, he inquired, “Can we sit and visit while you get ready?”
Far from perfect.
Less than romantic.
Broken and weary… certainly not the end – a long shot from the beginning I replied…
“Sure, slide on over.”
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a woman. Proverbs 30:18-19
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