An Answer

this is an answer.

an answer to a question I get a lot and never know how to answer.

how is married life?


Christian and I were already in bed. checking our phones before we slept like they were the evening news. the lamp was casting warm light over our cozy, cream colored blankets. it was beautifully still in the summer world outside. but I could hear my husband's breathing get a little bit heavier beside me. I looked over at him and his eyes were sparkling. sparkling with tears. his glance found mine and acknowledged my unspoken question.

"Papa sent out an email. I'll read it to you."

his usually powerful voice was quiet and choked. I moved closer and put my head in the nook of his arm as he echoed the words of his grandfather. an aging grandfather who had invested so much time into my husband's life.

"Good morning to each one of you. I get a lot of time to think as I sit in my chair all day and don't do much that is constructive. The use of my legs and arms are slowly getting poorer..."

Christian's voice went out for a moment. I stayed silent. he gained control.

"The words of a song often come to mind to challenge me, and they are 'When the Trumpet of the LORD Shall Sound'. This is a challenge to me, and will I be there? Am I trusting Jesus Christ and what He did to pay for the sins that I have committed against GOD and man?

a tear threatened to tip over my eye-lid and plummet to his shoulder.

"Then it comes to mind, have I done anything that would keep my wife, children, and grandchildren from trusting Jesus Christ for their salvation? On the basis of what Jesus Christ has done, and what HE alone has done, 'I'll be there'. My question to each of you is 'Are you trusting Jesus Christ alone?' so that you will be with me?"

his Papa went on to write out the words of the song that had challenged him. and my husband read them slowly.

he put his phone down and wrapped his arms around me. neither of us said anything.

quietness pervaded the room for several minutes. each of us lost in our thoughts. not needing the comfort of words. simply needing the comfort of knowing the other one was there.

Christian turned the lamp off and softly began to tell me as much as he knew about his grandfather's past. about how he was on the team for building the first cell phone ever. how he had met his wife. the kind of dad he had been to my mother-in-law. how he loved God. how he knew his time was approaching when he would meet his beloved Savior face to face.

he quietly talked and I asked the occasional question until we talked ourselves to sleep...

him with his fingers wound into mine.

that's how married life is.

I was angry. very, very angry. why? oh, do you care to see my list? no? fine.

just fine.

I stormed out of the house. tears scalding my cheeks. they were literally hot. I knew I was overreacting. but I didn't care.

I sat down at the marsh crying and thinking. then on the back step feeling remorseful. then in the car hoping he felt remorseful. hoping he felt worried and was wondering where the heck I was. hoping this would teach him a lesson.

why was I so mad, you ask? had he slapped me or yelled at me or threatened me? nope. it was over something small. something small that I had let build up in my head for too long. so long had this particular subject had been teetering precariously on a scale in my mind, that the fact that he had done the same small thing again tonight had tipped the scales and sent them crashing into one spit-fire attack being launched from my mouth.

I began to cool down. I severely scolded the general (my stupid heart) who had so hastily called for war and sat down on the battlefield (or you know, the stairs) to nurse the wounded (my pride).

I was still angry, but I was starting to realize how foolish I had been.

I finally slunk a little bit sheepishly back inside still half expecting him to rush over to me and apologize for whatever he had done wrong and beg on his hands and knees for my forgiveness. still half feeling like it would be right if he did.

but he was asleep.

quietly snoring.

of all the frustrating things in the world.

this wasn't what I expected. this wasn't what I had planned for.

my war strategy was completely ineffective on someone who was sleeping.
the enemy-side lay sleeping before me. suddenly, I wondered why I had gotten so mad at all. I mean, I remembered. but was it worth this? it had been over something so small.

I thought about how someone had long ago responded to me in a similar way. how physically sick it had made me and how I had sworn never to do that. never to storm out. it made me physically sick now to realize I had done it myself.

oh Lord. how much I have to learn! forgive me!

my hastily built wall of anger came crashing down all at once.

I was crying again now. crying tears of "how terrible can I be to this guy that loves me more than he loves himself?"

I crept into bed next to his sleeping form and willed that he would know that I was sorry even as he slept. I couldn't really shake him awake and be like, "hey sunshine! sorry to wake you! I know this is probably bad timing, but I'm a nutcase and I'd really appreciate it if you'd forget that little tantrum and forgive me?"

but I prayed he'd forgive me.

and the next morning, he did. at first a little hesitantly (I don't think men understand how quickly women change their minds or how quickly they can realize they are wrong, so it took him a minute to make sure I was serious). but then sweetly, completely, he forgave me just like that.

"no really. you don't have to forgive me. you can probably send me back and get a refund or something," I wanted to say.

but he didn't hold it against me.

instead we talked for four hours straight. about both of our strengths and weaknesses. about what had set me off in the first place. him apologizing. me apologizing. encouraging each other. promising prayer for each other. me promising not to respond like that again.

he forgave me. I forgave him. we don't bring it up and shove it in each other's faces.

because we both have so much to learn. and we both get to learn together. we can't keep tabs on who got angry when. we can't keep tabs on each other's weaknesses and faults. 

relationships are not perfect. relationships are so vulnerable.

relationships are having fights and saying sorry and forgiving completely.

that's how married life is.

we love breakfast for dinner. we get out all the pans we have and fry up bacon and eggs and pancakes and hash browns. biscuits brown in the oven. gravy thickens on the stove.
we work side by side. occasionally whacking the other and pretending we didn't. or dutifully reminding the other that that is against the rules. what rules? we don't know. but there is an imaginary rule book to our marriage and we bring it up whenever a new pretend rule needs to be stated.
we are ridiculous. but we don't care.
we pile up the dishes in the sink. we test the bacon for crispiness perfection. we get out plates and heap everything on. he grabs the salt and pepper. I grab us tall, cold drinks of apple juice.
napkins? got 'em!
we sit at the dinner table and hold hands. he lifts up a prayer to heaven, thanking God for food and another day of living.
we shovel down deliciousness and don't even speak at all. we are comfortable with silence. we are comfortable with stuffing our mouths with food in front of each other. I point out the egg on his face. he watches my biscuit crumble all over my lap.
we are ridiculous. but we don't care.
we slow down towards the end. dishes are waiting. but he offers to dry. and so while I scrub plates and forks and pans and more pans, we talk. about anything. and everything. what needs to be done. and how maybe it can just be done tomorrow because having a movie night sounds way more fun.
so we watch movies. and he puts his arm around me. I complain I'm cold. he tells me to scoot closer. I remark that I'm already up against him. he whines that I don't really like him or else I would come closer.
halfway through the movie, he tells me he thinks we should get married. I tell him that I'm already married. he moves his arm away and looks shocked. "how could you!" he says and looks disgusted with me. I laugh my heart out and gently remind him that I'm married to him.
"when did that happen?" he asks.
"a long time ago. in a dream."
"oh," he says. "that must have been a good dream."
he sits close to me again and holds my hand and kisses me with an overdramatic lip-smack.
"I love you," I say.
"I love you too, Nay," he says back.
we are ridiculous. but we don't care.

that's how married life is.

we make up pretend situations and act them out.

sometimes at restaurants, we pretend we are on our first date. we ask each other basic questions and make up answers in a rather bored tone of voice. half-way through our first date, I suddenly interrupt to ask him if he wants to move in with me.
"isn't that a little forward!?" he asks. I shrug. "I like you," I say and give him a wink.

people around us probably think we are crazy.

when I cry, he knows that it's better if he just holds me. trying to make me make sense of why I'm crying never works, because there's never really a good reason. besides. I calm down faster when I think he understands.

when he insists that his way of doing something is better than mine, I give in and do it his way. (I'll never make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the same way again...)

when we eat chocolate coconut-milk ice-cream, I have learned the best way to hog it is to run all over the house in a zigzag pattern, eating while I run. that way when he catches me, I've already eaten quite a bit.

when he gets home from work, I know that he needs at least an hour to unwind before I bombard him with questions.

we split the radio station between country and... whatever it is he listens to.

we know when the other one wants to be left alone and when the other one is just pretending they want to be left alone but in reality needs someone to pay attention to them.

we say I love you way more times a day than is necessary. but we mean it every time.

we know each other backwards and forwards. we know each other's dislikes and super likes and super dislikes and yet we are still learning about each other.

I like him more everyday. and I have this hunch that he likes me more everyday too.

we pray about what's happening in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Psalms is both of our favorites and I love when he reads them out loud at night.

are you starting to see? married life has a lot of different aspects, and none of them can really be wrapped up in the word "good" when someone asks how it is.

it's good, but it's also great at times.

it's good, but it's also hard at times.

it's good, but it's also everything I ever wanted at times.

it's good, but it's also a challenge to all that is in me at times.

you know what married life really is?

it's waking up and depending on Jesus Christ every single day. just like I did when I wasn't married. just like I'll do for the rest of my life. just like Christian did before he was married. just like Christian will do every single day of his life.

the only difference is you get to do it with someone else.

so if you're not married yet and everything I've written (even my tantrum) sounds dreamy to you (I hope my tantrum doesn't sound dreamy to you) or if you are married and you relate to the good and the bad and the really good and the really ugly or NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR LIFE I just want to say...

right now is a good time to put Christ at the center of your life, of your marriage, of your schooling, of your family, of your trials, of your blessings.

at every season in your life, in every minute of your relationships, in every hour of your marriages... put Christ first. trust Him in all things, all situations, all times.

He has to be the anchor of your soul. because life is a sea of ups and downs. right now I'm riding a wave of happiness, but when a challenge comes and I go speeding down down down into the depths, it is Christ who raises me up and gives me strength.

am I happy I get to sail this sea with Christian? you better believe it. happy doesn't even cut it. he is my favorite human being in the universe and I thank God for giving him to me on this journey.

but even if you haven't found your travel companion yet, even if I hadn't found mine yet, even though I have found mine...

as you walk on the unpredictable waters of this life, don't be like Peter and look away from Christ's love. don't sink below the surface in your franticness to be in control. keep your eyes fixed on Him. in every day and every thought.

He will guide you through all things with His steady hand.

because that's just how God is.

I hope this answered your question on how married life is.

If not, please accept a semi-blank look on my face and a "gooooood!" the next time I see you. ;)