Friday, September 6, 2013

So this is Normalcy

Very shortly after we got married I went in to see a marriage and family therapist assigned through my church. I desperately needed to talk to someone and felt led to call LDS Family Services. I was feeling miserable and confused and unsure if I could keep going on being a married person.
My therapists name was Jeffrey. He had very kind eyes and a soft smile. He listened  patiently as I tearfully unloaded all my gigantic worries and fears into his little office.

"I can't do this," I said.
"Tell me more," he said.
"I'm scared." 
Scared of what?
Scared of marriage, and divorce, and everything that I can't see ahead.
Scared of your husband?
No, not like that. He's a wonderful person and I love him so much.
What are you scared of?
I don't know exactly. I don't know how to be married. I don't know how to be in a relationship. I don't trust myself to be a good spouse.
Marriage is trust. Marriage is loyalty, devotion, honesty, service, sacrifice, love.
I don't know how to do those things. I've never seen that kind of relationship. I don't know where to start. I'm scared.
You are already doing those things. You are on the right path.
I have too many fears. They are holding me back.
Give all your fears to Christ.
Take everything you're worried about in your relationship and hand it over to Him. Tell Him you need Him to take all the hard stuff so you can focus on loving your new husband. He'll take care of it, I promise. He promises.
I'll try.
You are doing everything right. You are really trying, and your fears are validated, but you need to let them go and just love your new husband. Trust him to love you. Trust yourself to love him. Let happiness take over, and let go of all the fears. Pretty soon your life as a married person will feel normal.
I don't know what normalcy feels like.  Can you describe it to me?
You'll know it when you feel it.
 I will? 
Yes, you will.

 It's been eight years since that conversation in Jeffrey's office. I think about it often. It seems like a lifetime ago, yet it's still so clear in my mind. What is normalcy? What does it feel like? 
 Well, I've reasoned that normalcy isn't a perfect life. It isn't having a perfect house, perfect children, or all the money and things you want. It certainly isn't feeling 100% happy all the time-- My marriage has been chock full of ups and downs and twisty turns as we've learned to communicate, tolerate, and have patience for each others weaknesses. Raising children together has taken a whole new set of communication skills that we've had to develop. Yet, our struggles in growing together have made us stronger, and our weaknesses have turned into strengths over the years. Especially as I've continued to pray and hand all of my worries over to Christ, I have witnessed a marriage change from something small and weak to something strong and powerful. I never could have imagined these possibilities for my life. God has worked miracles in my life. Our lives.

One of my defining moments in reaching normalcy in my marriage occurred to me one day  when I was really mad at my husband. I can't remember what I was mad at him about, but I remember being raging, fuming mad! 
It  was then that I realized that my anger didn't change anything in our marriage. I still loved him and he still loved me, and feeling mad didn't mean I was an awful person, or he was a terrible spouse, or that we needed to consider divorce. It simply meant I was mad, and feeling mad was okay. We moved past it, we kept going, and our marriage remained strongly intact.
Marriage is hard. Marriage takes stretching . I've had to bend and mold myself to be the person I need to be for my husband and family and it hasn't been easy for me at times. 
But I have been blessed in return. I have been blessed with a marriage overflowing with loyalty, devotion, honesty, service, sacrifice, love, and trust. I have been blessed with joy, happiness, hope, and excitement for the future. 

So this is what normalcy feels like:
Two imperfect people who love and trust each other dearly.
I love you Micah Jackson. (Anyways, always, and forever and ever and ever.) 

1 comment:

tracy said...

Sally, I LOVE these words! I did not how to be married either and had many of the same fears. Your words have helped me more clearly see the road we have traveled to get where we are today. Thank you!