It's good to sit for a minute. To contemplate. It's been a year.
Just now I started making a list of everything notable that has happened in the last year. Things, I suppose, that could easily be seen as check points along the way. However, it didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't quite appropriate--neither for the way that I am feeling, nor for the way that the last year has actually been for me.
Because here's the deal. It's not really the tangible, datable, quantifiable things that have happened along the route of our first year that have defined who we are in our marriage. Rather, it's the untangible: the thoughts, the ideas, the emotions, the lessons, and sometimes even the sublime that define what we have become, together.
A few weeks back I read an article by Orson Scott Card about marriage. I thought it was so fascinating, and really, eye-opening. Part of the article said:
"AMERICA HAS BECOME tragically ignorant about something we once seemed to understand: marriage.
Even in the church, we postpone marriage later and later, as if it were a particularly unpleasant dental appointment. There's so much to do first — we have to "find out who we are." We have to get our careers established. We have to prove we're successful.
I had a taste of that myself when I got married back in 1977. I had sold my first novel and wanted to get it finished and delivered ... before I got married. So I was just a few minutes late getting to the temple because I had to finish photocopying that manuscript and get it into the mail.
What was I thinking? That it would somehow be better if my wife knew for sure that she was not part of my career as a writer?
That's such a silly mistake — that we must or even can "find ourselves" before we've made that lifelong (or longer) commitment.
Here's why it's a mistake: We don't ever "find" ourselves. Instead, in marriage, we make ourselves.
No, we make each other — as a joint project. We turn ourselves into a perfect fit. Our self is the marriage, and our part in it. There is no 'I' without the 'we.'"
Interesting concept, no? But from my small, short, life experience, I've found this statement, particularly the last paragraph, to be rather profound. Even though I was pretty young (20) when LJ proposed, I had completed 3 years at a university, I had been (almost) entirely independent for those 3 years, I had held steady, good jobs, I was financially stable with no debt, I had planned out my future education prospects, I knew clearly what my dreams and goals in life were... well, let's just leave it at that and say that I thought I had myself pretty-darn figured out. So when LJ came home from his mission and proposed a week later, I had zero inhibitions about going forward with it. We loved each other, we were the best of friends, and it would have been silly to put it off any because propriety told us we should wait.
Well, my stubborn, seemingly-solidified, birthed-from- the-strains-of-adolescence confidence soon found its way out of my newly-wed window. One beautiful, married morning, I woke up, and I had the strange thought that I didn't know who I was. It was strange because I hadn't had that thought in years.
It was strange, too, because I couldn't figure a reasoning for my loss of confidence. LJ tells me that I'm beautiful, smart, talented, awesome, and a whole bunch of other things that I am probably not but that he so graciously thinks I am pretty much every single married day. He always encourages me. I couldn't figure out my problem. Like really? What the heck.
My mother, though, the all-knowing, ever-saving angel that she is, enlightened me to that fact that I would have many of these identity-crises throughout my entire life, and that major life changes would always cause identity changes as well.
And right she was, and will continue to be, probably for the rest of my life.
This past year has been amazing. It's been hard. It's been work. It's been growth. It's been humility. It's been time. It's been memories. It's been entertaining. It's been different than anything else I have ever experienced. And let me tell you, it's been worth it.
There is nothing better in the entire world than marrying the love of your life in the temple of the Lord.
If you have ever questioned whether or not you can make it there, whether or not it is worth it, whether or not it's for you...STOP. Because you can make it there. It is worth it. It's for everyone.
And not only is it for everyone, but it might be the best thing that you'll ever do.
Because let me tell you, it's definitely the best thing I've ever done.
Now, if you'll please excuse me, I am going to go celebrate the best thing I've ever done with a romantic candle-light dinner, Martinellis, and a very attractive husband.
(Wasn't she just eating Apple Jacks?)