Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why did I do?


“Why did we get married?” She asked, her eyes welling with tears as we idled in the grocery store parking lot. “Were we just caught up in the emotion of it?”

“Yeah, maybe. I think so.”

“It’s just that the feeling is gone now,” she continued, looking up and away as if to access a memory that had long since passed.

“Well, I have gained a lot of weight,” I offered.

“Yeah.” She smiled.

“Yeah.” I looked down at my protruding belly. More silence. I slid the car into park and took my foot off the brake.

“But what if we were wrong? We don't like the same things. Do you think we were supposed to get married?” Her eyes were searching mine.

“Yes, but maybe not as soon as we did.” My stomach tightened as I recalled my antics; pushing our relationship at a breakneck pace while friends and family tried to keep up.

“But we’re both so good at getting our own way…” she trailed off, wondering if we’d managed to trick God.

“It’s harder now that we’re stuck together, huh?” We both snickered as we imagined me on the couch and her at the beach for the next fifty years.

“I thought we’d enjoy doing our own thing,” she sounded confused, “but I want to be with you sometimes too!”

“Well, I am realizing that I love myself more than I love you.” It came out slow, like it was sinking in word by word.

“Yeah,” she slowly agreed, “I love myself more than you too.” We both sat very still and let our abject selfishness sink in. I imagine we both were relieved to have said it, perplexed that it might actually be true, and uncomfortable with resigning ourselves to it.

“I really like you though.” I whispered. “I mean, I enjoy you. And if I’m going to learn how to be more loving and less selfish you’re the one I want to learn with.”

Her eyes sparkled with agreement. “I like you too,” she replied. But she didn’t have to. I already knew.

12 comments:

  1. You know, I think THE hardest thing about marriage is realizing just how selfish you are. Being single is so much easier. When you're married, all of a sudden there's someone there who you are supposed to sacrifice for, and you just plain don't WANT to. (At least, that's how I am.) It's a slow process, learning to give in. It's worth it, although sometimes I think it would be so much nicer and more fun to stay selfish. Maybe that's just me, though.

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  2. It's so nice when people share these conversations - Admit to coming to this place. About a year and a half in, Jordan and I had pretty much decided we'd made a big mistake.
    Most people with really differing personalities sail these waters. Most just don't like to admit it. And most people don't have near the challenges you have had right at the beginning.
    I think too - you've got to really believe that God is bigger than your antics or attempts to get your own way. Trust Him with this too. You two are absolutely supposed to be together. And it will feel like it again someday soon.

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  3. I agree.
    I really like this post. :) I feel like marriage is doing stupid things and learning with someone you like. I know I'm going to mess up, and even hurt my husband ... but at the end of the day, he's the one who makes me laugh - and he's the one I want to learn with. And that's marriage :)

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  4. I love the transparency and truth of your conversation. Marriage (and then children) seem to have a way of working the selfishness of our hearts right to the surface. God's description for marriage - husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and wives submit (with trust) to your husbands is so beyond our capability. It can be a long journey to reach this lofty goal in our marriages but Jesus is faithful and it is possible with Him (and sometimes a lot of counseling...haha) Year #3 was a rough one for us:) And we are thankful for wise counsel!

    Keep up the open communication between you - it is the key to marital growth. Wishing you both grace and joy in the journey.

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  5. It's good when you 'fall out of love' and discover you are still friends!

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  6. What a refreshingly honest post. Thanks so much for sharing this conversation.

    I know that for us (married for almost 8 years, together for about 10), we've gone through seasons. Some seasons are happy and open and free. Other seasons are...not good. The feelings are gone and you're tired and disillusioned and can't stop fighting over every little thing. And you wonder where you lost the way. Without realizing it, though, things look up again. The feelings return and things are happy again. You can laugh and love. Marriage is by far the hardest 'school' I've ever been in.

    It's great to be friends with the person you are married to. It's necessary even. Because when the feelings are gone, you still have something to keep you there.

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  7. An incredibly courageous glimpse into your relationship and the road you're traveling. Thanks for being a man with the strength to share this with so many. Lots of love and respect for you Matt.

    Darrin

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  8. I think that most couples need to have this conversation early in their marriage- it's the beginning of many honest and dare-I-say healthy conversations that too many people are afraid to have. You come to a place where the significance of this thing starts to hit you and bring to surface many insecurities and selfish tendencies. This is the part that we thought happened to other people, surely not us. Plow through, my friend.

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  9. OK. You seriously know there's a book coming, right?

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  10. Chris LonnevilleJune 6, 2010 at 10:51 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing your marital communiques :). Can I just tell you that you've had "the conversation" a whole lot earlier than my wife and I - who will be celebrating (and I mean that word) our 30th anniversary this week. It took us years and years and years to be that honest - mostly because I was so afraid of the repercussions and so wanted to be and do the right thing all the time - that's the people pleaser side of me - while inside I was in agony. Thanks Matt.

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  11. Daniel and I came to this point in our third year. I remember sitting on the cellar steps in our base housing house in Grand Forks, North Dakota wondering what the heck happened.

    I'll never forget that night.

    I was scared and he was scared. But it was a turning point. We were one child and three years in to forever and the future that loomed in front of us was discouraging to say the least.

    But from that night on, it's only been sunshine and soft fluffy puppies. NOT. We did decide that no matter the work, we were going to do this thing. I've absolutely hated some moments since then and flown as high as Heaven in others. God is good and He's faithful to help us finish what we've started.

    Thursday is our 9 year anniversary. With two more kids and six more years added since that dark night in North Dakota, I can honestly say: our marriage at 20 years old was no mistake. We didn't realize the magnitude of what we were doing then but we realize it now. And are so thankful.

    You can do this thing too. I believe in you guys.

    -Andrea

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  12. Jennifer Prokopchuk GeorgeJuly 6, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Crying. Wow Matt -- this is some journey God has you on to mold and shape you into who He wants you to be.

    I've read from the bottom up as you suggested and here is where I comment. Marriage is not easy! Children have awakened me to my selfishness. We have had marital struggles too, but I believe that God is faithful and will see us through!

    It's incredible that you and Danielle communicate as you do. Keep it up -- it's not something you want to let slide!! So happy to hear you're making the best of your lives together and are willing to grow together!

    Blessings to you as you are refined!!!

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