It all started in an Ikea parking lot. We’d been having a “dayte” – our word for day long dates – and as usual had spent a good amount of that time working through our various little tiffs with each other. We always fight on our dates when we’ve gone awhile without spending a lot of time together. This particular “dayte” was my belated birthday outing. We’d gone to our nearby outdoor mall where there is an Anthropologie and a Jcrew and because I was hungry when we got there, we first went straight to the lunch counter in Macy’s. Henry decided to buy himself a mug at Starbuck’s and on the way discovered he’d like to have fresh coffee to carry around in his open mug while I window-shopped. Five minutes later – after sloshing it onto the floor all the way out of Macy’s and receiving a severe dressing-down from me on the way to Anthro – found him pouring most of it into the planter outside the store. I felt a little ashamed. But why should I? He was the one who’d completely embarrassed me all the way through Macy’s and made people stare at us while we marched across the courtyard! (It couldn’t have been the fuming redhead scolding him audibly through tightly clenched teeth).
An hour and a cooler head later after I had timidly hinted I’d felt a little bad he’d poured all his coffee out and he’d cried when he told me I had embarrassed him (did I mention this was just before Christmas and there were hundreds of shoppers? And, yes, I have a husband who cries and it’s very sweet.) I had an epiphany. I didn’t know it then, but that was the moment I entered phase 2 of our marriage. At the time it felt like finding the right piece of a jigsaw puzzle when you’ve been trying to fit one which looks so similar but just doesn’t fit no matter how hard you press it. I felt foolish. Implications bloomed before me. I had been trying to make this hilarious, free man into a clone of me. I had been insisting he anticipate how every whim of his own might make me feel. I was trying to force an impossible outcome from our marriage: that I would never feel lonely or discomfited. Basically, that he existed to make me happy.
Anyway, that hour talking and crying in the Ikea parking lot was a turning point. It’s been an interesting ride w/r/t personal growth since then and I’ve realized that even though I love design and I will go on posting pictures of things I’m making, if I’m going to write I want it to be about what matters to me. Of course our marriage is the epicenter of discovery because it’s so constant. If you aren’t married, think about it like sharing a room with your sister only much more intense. I had no idea that my life would become doubled in marriage. Suddenly I have this whole other person whose life I’m coming to know and understand almost as well as my own; whose mannerisms I can predict with accuracy but who still remains a complete mystery to me. It really is like having a second self. Like a mirror if you could walk into it and interact with the self on the other side. But infinitely more interesting. And infuriating. Because THIS second self doesn’t do things the way you do!! It takes three times as long to take a simple pee as you do and WON’T ADMIT IT. This self shakes the whole bed when it whips around to turn off its alarm clock in the morning and then leaves the door open while it takes a shower, singing, whistling, spitting and honking its nose. Basically, my other self is very noisy. It’s like living with a trained bear. But it also rubs my back and plays with my hair almost every night and gives the best hugs in the world. And it’s a good kisser. Yeah, okay, this whole metaphor is getting a little creepy. But ya’ll know what I’m saying.
I’ve grown more in the last year and a half with Henry than I have in the five years since college combined and it’s been so joyful and natural. Maybe not easy: I’ve been slowly inspecting the implications which bloomed in December and have found a lot about myself I’ve been unwilling to admit. It’s an act of grace on God’s part that I can even see these things. But the act of discovery and change hasn’t been the drudgery I imagine it could be. I have only God to thank for that too. I was definitely not smart enough to pick the right kind of man without a lot of intervention on His part.
So here’s my idea: I want to write about the things occupying my thoughts lately. It might be a little histrionic to think my journey is just as interesting to the world as it is to me (I’m starting to suspect it’s something I need to work on), but I’m going to write about it anyway. We’re starting to think and talk more seriously about all kinds of exciting things for this next phase of our lives and I want to share it with you. I also find that in doing some good healing lately I am getting perspective on my past which might come in handy and might just be somewhat interesting if not. At least it’ll be interesting to me. So stay tuned. For now I have to sign off. I’m going to finish painting the blackboard on our kitchen wall and make curtains and then I’ll let you see it! Thanks for reading.
This made me cry. 🙂