Two and a half months – that’s how long I was engaged. And now, that’s how long I’ve been married. During those frantic, busy, hot summer days leading to the wedding, I thought this day would never come – the day when I wake up and realize that I’m married. And now? I hardly think about it. Wake up…fix breakfast for a man who crawls out of bed in the morning in a condition of absolute starvation… shower and dress… read my Bible… decide if it is more important to do a load of laundry, wash some dishes or cook tomorrow’s lunch?…pack for the days events…wish I had risen earlier, or accomplished more the night before…look at the Uno cards scattered over the living room floor, interspersed with an empty plate and a used napkin – all evidence of the fun times I spent playing and talking with my husband (my husband?!!! Wow!) the night before…pick up the cards and realize it is was worth it leave the dishes for this morning, even though it seems so stressful now…think about the upcoming holidays and wonder, “Where did the time go???”
Is it just me, or does every new bride experience a time of deep inner trial, of knowing oneself in ways never before imagined (or wished for!), of wrestling – travailing, even! – with the birth of a whole new person: the Wife? I am not an incredibly emotional person, and yet these months of marriage have been more emotionally exhausting even than those horribly hectic days of engagement!
In one wonderful day, I went from never having kissed a man, to kissing him in front of a hundred pairs of eyes, and being asked, while in the swell of unspeakable emotion that accompanies one’s wedding, to please “Hold that pose” indefinitely (how about ‘awkwardly’???), while the photographer adjusts the flash, and people grin, and all I wish for is to be alone with this man and soak in the reality that I am his. There was the delight of laying my head on his shoulder after a long, hectic day- why did no one mention what a heavenly feeling that would be?! – and then there was the surprise of waking up on Sunday morning to the realization that it was MY responsibility to put breakfast on the table in time for us to go to Church. There were those moments of walking the beach, hand in hand, enjoying each other, and nature, and our good God – and then there were times of disillusionment when I did everything I thought he wanted, only to realize he had a completely different plan. The panicky thoughts that will not be suppressed – “Have I failed him? We misunderstood each other! We must not be communicating properly! Communication is key – that’s what every body says! I’m failing!” Private tears flowed – private, lest he should be distressed. And before I had the opportunity to absorb the sense of failure, and work through my own thoughts to find some reasonable course, he would come full-force across the screen of my day again, never having realized my inner catastrophe, and transport me back into the drama of our happiness, joking, and laughing and surprising each other with the uniqueness of who we are. One word describes it all: dizzying. Dizzying heights of happiness, dizzying depths of despair and failure, dizzying twists of confusion, and mistakes, and second chances.
I’m sure it’s all part of working into my adult skin! And there is no one in this world with whom I would rather work through these metamorphoses than Jordan, my husband. But the learning curve is huge. I am convinced it will take a life-time! How is it that I once thought I knew myself so well? I even had the audacity to think I knew Jordan well! I know now that I knew nothing whatsoever. My husband and I are like two babies, let loose in a world of toys, hot stoves and staircases. Each day is a whirlwind of awe, frustration, delight and the inevitable trial-and-error – sometimes amusing, sometimes not – as we learn to share the toys, use the stove without burning ourselves, and climb that staircase without falling – all of those things done together. As a couple. As a team. We are not ourselves. We are curiously both less and more: less of the weaknesses and more of the strengths, if we pull together. In sacrificing our personal wants, dreams, expectations and desires, and taking up the wants, dreams, expectations and desires of the other, we slowly forge a new personality that is “us”. And if we can laugh together while we’re doing it, it is a beautiful thing.
Marriage is therefore the most fulfilling experience of my whole life, while being at the same exact moment, the most humbling.