marriage notes

Posted: January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

G is in Chicago this weekend without me; he needed to get there fast to see a friend whose situation is so dire I cannot think of it without weeping, much less speak of it or write about it.  Let’s just say there has been unceasing prayer for that friend and his family,in this house.  For a number of reasons, we couldn’t get us both there, so just for this weekend he is there and I am here.  It is weird – G and I generally kind of move through life as a single unit.

It was hard to get to sleep without him last night.  My every-night sleep ritual is that we go to bed at the same time.  We talk and cuddle for just a bit, and then G, with his magic relaxing powers, blinks out of consciousness.  He might wake up apologizing once, but I inform him that he’s not allowed to apologize for falling asleep in bed at bedtime, and then off he goes into the land of nod.  It is for this nightly occasion that I keep the light on, because I like to fall asleep watching him sleep.  Today it has been 526 days since our wedding (that’s a year and five months) and still I am amazed every night that he’s there.  While some people might get tired of hearing about that every night for a year and a half, I don’t get tired of saying it, G doesn’t get tired of hearing it, and it is my firm opinion that God totally digs the conversation of gratitude that I have with Him about it.  Every.  Single.  Night.

So without all of that, getting to sleep was hard.  I pulled out all the tricks I used to use on the occasional sleepless single night, and somewhere around midnight I finally drifted off in my too-big bed.

Staying asleep, it turns out, is easier without him here.  That’s because there’s nothing enticing to wake up for.  I roll over A LOT in the night.  When he’s here, I wake up a little bit with each roll…and then I notice him…and I need to pat him or hold his hand or wrap my arm around him or something, and silently tell God again how great it is that he’s there. He’s the spiritual leader of this gig and he proves it in the night – if he wakes up, what he does is pray – ALOUD – for me.  I know, because of how often I suddenly partially awaken and hear his whispered prayers of blessing over me.

If I wake up and morning is nearing (and our regular “morning” wake time is the ridiculous hour of 4:30 AM) then going back to sleep is a never-mind proposition.  I need to turn the light on.  I need to watch him and be amazed again – Gary Buchanan is really right here beside me!  I need to cuddle up to him and watch his amazing smile and then find how his smile brings mine.  I, who have NEVER been a morning person, who have ALWAYS been offended by the coming of noise and light in the morning, cannot wait another second to verify this unbelievably wonderful truth.  Gary Buchanan is really right beside me, right here in my bed.  It’s just crazy.  Unmerited, unearned, unexpected, and better than I dared to hope, for so very long.  That’s the waking conversation that God and I, and G and I, have basically every morning (other than those January mornings when I wake up already defeated by harmful inner voices battering me, of course – but those seem to have been silenced again, for the time being.)

So without all of that, staying asleep was easy.  I don’t remember waking even once in the night, and I slept clear through to almost 8 AM.  There was nothing to wake up for.

This is the night part of my life of INTENTIONAL marriage.  I am realizing I can draw the lessons from how I live this married life, as I ask myself what it means to be INTENTIONAL in all other matters.

In the night, being INTENTIONAL looks like stopping to notice.  Like embracing wonder and gratitude.  Like not hurrying by blessings, but stopping to linger over them.  Like never, ever taking what is good for granted.  Like saying the good stuff aloud, not just assuming it is known.  There is *no assuming* inside of intentionality.

All of that is true in the day, as well, but the day requires much more effort, much more deciding.  After all, the day is when the clock gets to be much more in charge.  It’s when we’re trying to get stuff done, and when we’re navigating differences of perspective and understanding and methodology.  The day is when it’s easy to fail on being INTENTIONAL, even in a marriage that blows my little mind every bedtime and most every breaking of the morn.

So in the day, being INTENTIONAL mostly means intentionally and without prejudice murdering my selfish and self-centered ways.  It means noticing that he does things differently than I would, and deciding that this doesn’t mean I’m right and he’s wrong – which means resisting the urge to correct, lecture, or otherwise offer obnoxious opinions.  Having been single for so long, I had forgotten the myriad ways that two people can function differently, and how that can rub like sandpaper, if I just focus on the judging of that difference, and the Terrible Control Issue Monster that rises in me, when I do that.

If I sound like a saint who has perfected this process, don’t fall for that bullsh*t.  I lose the battle to not be controlling on a daily basis.  I find myself apologizing at least daily for being the Bossy Queen of the World, and being amazed at how G never “bites back” when I go into that mode.  He is kindness and gentleness personified, and THAT is how we’ve made it this far without so much as a single fight.  I get maybe 10% of the credit for that, and G gets a good solid 90% or more.

Still, I’m daily amazed that it’s possible to love like this.  One of the big differences between this marriage and my first is the difference in agenda.  In the first, I was trying to negotiate – trying to get what I wanted, trying to make things go the way I thought they should.  Some of this was done by a lot of fighting, and most of it was done by another evil, manipulative behavior:  people-pleasing.  Don’t fall for the lie that people-pleasers are “nice people.”  We are not.  We are manipulators, trying to pull specific behaviors and attitudes out of others around us, trying to force their acceptance of us and even their admiration.  We are every bit as selfish and self-centered as the less “nice” folks around us.  We just have different methods than the bullies do, and in fairness, the bullies are at least being honest about who they are.  We people-pleasers get to pretend that we are some of the finest folks on earth, all while we’re pulling dirty tricks on others with our expectations and emotional gamesmanship.  That was for sure who I was in my first marriage – I was working it to get what I wanted.  This is, I am sure, one of the reasons I needed to be single for 15 years.  I needed to get a look at all of that and start to see myself and others differently (that’s called HEALING.)

I love being a different person with G.  The me I am today and with him wouldn’t even be recognizable to the old me.  Today, I put up a mighty battle against my selfish ways and the temptation to manipulate.  Today, when I am tempted to try and get my way, I stop and ask God to examine that and show me.  Today, I measure my words by the important gauge of whether they will build up and help my husband and my marriage, or build my power and tear my husband down.  Today, when controlling thoughts go floating through my brain, more and more often I am able to see them and dismiss them like the jerks that they are.  No, I’m not saying that.  No, that’s not true just because my emotions are fooled into believing it.  No, I’m not going to assume bad motives on his part.  No, I don’t have a right to force this scenario to go the way I think it should. 

It’s not easy.  But then again, neither was fighting for my way all the time.

In the first marriage, it was hard because I was fighting for my way.

In this one, it is sometimes hard because I am fighting against my weaker ways.

In the first marriage, that led to angst, bitterness, dividedness, and self-hatred.

In this one, what I choose leads to joy, fulfillment, unity, and healing within myself.

It’s all equally hard work.  The difference is in the results.

I like these results.

My G will be back tomorrow night.  I’ll do my best, when I show up here tomorrow, to not only write about him.  But I’m making no promises – I miss him, okay?

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