Thursday, January 10

tough choices

Last night, Felicity chose Ben. Ben was kind of jerk to her before, broke her heart, dated her friend, and got Hulk-style angry at times. Noel, on the other hand, was always sweet, caring, kind, generous; HE was the obvious choice! And, instead, Felicity broke his heart, turning him into this raging, cursing, disrespectful Meany…in a public restaurant, no less. Jerk in Public, I call it.

And I was just so upset. I couldn't believe what a dumb mistake she had made. I also couldn't believe that I had done the same thing at one time. I remember being the Felicity in high school. I remember having one adoring boy on this side, and one cool, casual player on the other, and always being confused about who to "choose". Then I very clearly remembered break-ups. And oh, how awful those things were. I cried rivers of tears, spent days in doubt, and thought that I was just walking my way through life, waiting for the choosing to be over and Mr. Prince to reveal himself and we could live happily ever after.

I remember being Felicity and I remember the boys that played Ben and Noel. And for a while, wondered how those all ended up into being married to neither the Ben nor the Noel, today.

Any recent visit to this bog in the past year, will remind you that our first year of marriage was anything but a newlywed-blissful cakewalk. In fact, to this day, it feels like a lot of unchartered waters, a lot of tears, and a lot of reactions, arguments, difficulties, and imbalances that I cannot work my way through. Even today, there are days that are hard and days we don't know what to do.

So, again, I wonder how I went from drama and relationships, choosing this guy or that, feeling like romance and love were the only things that mattered in relationships to today. But when I think about it a little more, I remembered that those things all faded back then, and simply turned into the heartache called The Breakup.

So, later I ran across a version of this verse I'd never seen.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (I know, I know--New Living Translation, not necessarily the newest thing on the market.)

But those words, I get. I just don't know how.

Even as I type these words I think, "my readers will think I'm crazy. OF COURSE these are the things that make up a "Christian" marriage! It's only been plastered on every marriage book, counseling pamphlet, movie poster, and home furnishing decor out there." But I just don't know how to never be irritable, never want my own way, to stop keeping record of how many times my heart has been broken or disappointed. I don't know how to always have faith and hope, and I surely don't know how to endure. I am nearly 25 years old...what, this far, have I had to endure?

Not to mention, I lived 21 years (nah, more like 24 years) believing that love was the opposite of each these; don't let him get away with that, make sure he spends money and says all the right things, tell him you're not sleeping with him but run if he never even tries, and only stick with the guy if there are real, honest to Moses, sparks. And it's freaking hard to change the way I've thought for years.

But when I decided to get married, in a whirlwind of affairs, I was certain about the choice I was making; I chose love. The real stuff. I chose someone who loved me for who I was, who wanted to love like God, and knew the meaning of love.

There are days when he zigs and I zag, days when our words just do not come from the same novel, and days when I question what we did and where we went wrong. There are days that my fear gets the best of me, and makes me question a choice I made and am committed to. There are days where it just doesn't seem fair.

So, maybe I am just writing this for me. Maybe I just need to get it on "paper", the reasons that this marriage is hard and the reasons this marriage is good. Maybe this is just part of my homework, changing the way I think and all that. Maybe every other "Christian" has it all figured out, and they love this way every day, all the time. But I don't believe it's a coincidence that we prayed for one another's marriages in church last week, and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that we-together-are learning how to live outside of the bondage of “should” and “shouldn’ts”.

Marriage is tough, but not because it was ever supposed to be. It's tough because we naturally think and desire in one way, and for many, it isn't the way of God. Marriage is touch for me because I had very human-like expectations of what it would look like, feel like, and act like. Marriage is touch for me because I want to live a faithful and godly life, but somewhere deep in my heart, I've got the wrong ideas and thoughts.

So, I'll continue to be molded and changed, because I want something different for my life, something different than Felicity and the high school me. I'll go through the hard days because I know that I have to, because I have chosen to.

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