I am not getting married tomorrow. But tomorrow, I will be getting married tomorrow. Thus I suppose I ought to write a profound blog post, but I keep getting preoccupied with Jesus and love and unkindness and divorce and such things.
Warning: this isn’t a blog about “first world problems” -per say- but it feels like it. Anytime I say or write anything, these days, I feel like an American complaining about something when people are dying of malnutrition half way around the world from me.
Because a month after I got engaged, two of my dear friends got divorced. I was happy; I wanted to celebrate with the world and enter into this new season with gusto and resolve and community. And it felt like a shard of glass sticking in my ear. Whenever I get to spend time with either of these friends who divorced (which, happily, is semi-regularly), it makes me ache to see the scars, scabs and bitterness creep in occasionally. References hurt me, because I can see how badly hurt they still are.
It hurts in a different way too, in an angry way, because it hurt me how little they fought. And how stupid is that for me to say? How arrogant, how foolish to feel that way! I didn’t live with them. I didn’t hear their arguments and discussions. What I do know is that they were married for a year, with a lot of unresolved baggage from previous relationships, and I guess it turned out that they didn’t know how to be married to each other.
Mere months before they separated, she told me, “I knew he was different because I looked at him and thought, I want to have his babies.”
And then I’m crying and talking to myself about “Why doesn’t anybody ever FIGHT FOR IMPORTANT THINGS?”
Divorce upsets me increasingly, the older I get (like violence and death). My family was never stuffy or legalistic about divorce, because my mother was divorced before she married my father. I have a half-brother from her previous marriage, and it bothers me when I hear people talk about half-siblings as though they’re not REALLY family.
What I learned from my mother about that period of her life was that it was very hard for her, and that she should not have married her first husband. It’s over now, and she has my brother which is a huge blessing, but that doesn’t negate the fact that her choice was poor. She has always impressed upon us that marriage is important, and it’s worth the wait to make smart decisions about it.
That being said, even though divorce didn’t “phase” me growing up, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to deal with.
(Seriously. I sting over news of celebrity divorces. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett was especially hard.)
I don’t particularly have an explanation as to why it’s become such a gut-wrenching thing for me; I do suspect that as I enter into Marriage season I’m hypersensitive to the ideas of covenant and commitment.
(End of Aside)
So here I am, still trying to grapple with my twenty-something peers who are newly divorced, and mere weeks away from my own wedding, another one hits me. Another pair of twenty-something peers, who love Jesus like I do (two of my favourite people, actually) headed toward the divorce statistic.
And of course, I’m confused and upset at the world and trying not to cry at my desk and crying on the floor when I finally make it home. Of course I want to shake him until his bones rattle and the fear of God Almighty awakens in him.
Of course. Because I’m about to partake in what’s being ripped away from them.
But do you know what makes me mad?
The “he” in this situation (the one “doing the divorcing” you could say) tweeted this a few days back:
“Welp, nothing’s more fun than trying to keep track of who is blocking/unfollowing me. A nice distraction for my week.”
And that made me remember that, when my other friends were dealing with their separation/divorce last year, the same thing happened. Friends pulled away. People took sides, drew lines. In quiet, subtle ways. But it was felt by both of them.
Unfriending, blocking, falling away, in ANY way letting our Valid Upset and Valid Disagreement take precedence over Mandatory Loving is the most despicable, spiteful anti-Jesus display I can imagine in such a situation.
That’s a little more heated than I want to get about people, in a time of my life when I’m trying to learn a lot about patience (and, duh, love), but I think I needed to write that.
I don’t want to write any of this. I don’t want to write about my hurt and pain and confusion and anger, because I feel so unqualified to write about those things.
And it hurts me to write about joy and celebration and future hopes and concerns, because every day more and more people I know and love are moving to a broken place of not-having-that (or, at the very least, un-erasable change).
So I think that’s why I haven’t been writing anything about my upcoming marriage. Marriage is a hurting subject in my world right now.
But I treasure this time so much. I have so, so treasured my engagement. I have treasured looking for furniture, and the thrill of finding the perfect couch at a bargain. I have loved falling asleep during movies just because I wanted to spend a little more time in my David’s arms. I am glad we’ve had (so many) conversations trying to tweak the budget, or to make apartment decisions. (I’m not glad we fought in Target about the registry, but I’m we both realized it was stupid and showed humility afterward) I have loved moving things into the new apartment and finding places for everything in the kitchen and kissing with the tiny excitement of not having anybody in the next room.
I have loved the hours of driving to and from Virginia Beach, reading marriage books or The Magician’s Nephew aloud to each other. Loved having realistic (sometimes grumpy) conversations about expectations, habits, children, sex, and all kinds of things we get to figure out for the rest of our lives.
He has taught me so much. I’m going to learn so much. I’ve picked his brain and he’s picked mine and we’ve over-analyzed every feeling, thought, and fear. We know full well that we don’t have everything figured out, but that’s OK because we’re excited about each other, we want to take care of each other so bad, and we’ve learned how to take care of each other so well.
I haven’t required much care in my life. I’m an independent middle child. I fall between cracks on the Meyers-Briggs test, but I’m a Sanguine Phlegmatic extrovert who does just as much thinking as speaking (although something they’re simultaneous) and I can get things done when I need to. I’m often the one who takes care of things that need to be done (or at least delegates them). I make lists and see to it that things get crossed off. I’ve always had a loving mother, but one who gave me space and never hovered. I’ve always had a loving father, but one who chiefly loved by giving advice, setting rules, and being a good example.
My family taught me to take care of myself.
My world asked me over and over again to lead, pipe up, or suggest.
Until I had my David, I didn’t realize how hard it is to always be the one taking care of other people. When I started letting him take care of me, I gradually realized how much pressure can build up over 22 years. 22 years of having many wonderful friends, but no one “touchy feely” best friend to do everything with, share everything with.
Crying with someone.
Being unreasonable because I feel it sometimes, because he will remind me of Reason.
Yelling about what I hate because he’ll remind me of love.
Being sick, being tired to my core, and letting him carry me upstairs and tuck me in.
I didn’t know what that was like, and that is very good.
It is very good to carry each other.
(I will learn more about this soon)