Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Marriages, Mirrors, and Stilettos

Hello everyone, I would like to reiterate the apology already given by David. I am so sorry that there haven’t been any new posts for a while. As many of you already know, I have recently acquired a husband after over a decade of being single and I am having to learn to balance my new responsibilities with my old ones.

The good news is that I am learning why marriage is God’s favorite metaphor for our relationship to him, and that means lots of material for new posts.
Ty and I are at day 53 of married life and are off to a good start. Sure there have had to be some adjustments, and yes, we are still learning how to live with each other – what things we need to change in ourselves and simply accept this other person who has become such an important part of our lives, and okay, we both have some habits that drive the other one up the wall, but knowing that you are loved allows you to move through the process with some grace.

In some ways, I feel sorry for my new husband. He married a slob. Now, I never mean to be a slob, but when I get focused on something, (like writing, researching for one of my lectures, painting, or putting together the next Pagus event), housework ceases to exist. Unfortunately, while I don’t notice things like dishes piling up in the sink or the mound of books and papers growing on the couch, he does. And even more than that, there are things that you do when you live alone that another person might not appreciate, like make-up exploded all over the bathroom counter, notes written in marker on the dresser mirror, or using the car as a place to store extra shoes and such.

When you are by yourself stuff like that doesn’t matter, but suddenly now it does. Until now, I wasn’t even fully aware of the path of chaos I left in my wake, leaving books, papers, clothes, and half empty coffee cups behind me as a testament to my progress. I did not think anything about skipping meals just so I wouldn’t have to interrupt my flow of work or staying up all night to work on a project. It was how I lived, and as a single person it worked.

Adding Ty to my life was like someone holding up a giant magnifying mirror to it. Not that he complains (that much) or gets angry about my shortcomings as a homemaker. (No, domestic skills don’t come pre-installed with the ovaries.) Suddenly there is this person in my life who is affected by the way I live, by the priorities that dictate my activities, and I am having to learn how to accommodate him.

(And yes, I have kids, but they were like lion cubs raised on the Serengeti plains. They were acclimated to the chaos and believed it was perfectly normal to forage for food on their own, avoid natural disasters like book avalanches, and that coffee was needed for adult respiration.)

It took a relationship. It took a deeply intimate relationship for me to care enough to change some of my habits. No longer can I shove all the things I want to be hidden into my bedroom when company comes over. I can’t close that door to him. No longer can I put off grocery shopping until there is nothing but rice and steak sauce in the refrigerator, and when I do shop I have buy more than just coffee. Falling into bed at three in the morning isn’t an option; neither is leaving my stilettos in the middle of the floor.

Knowing God is like that. He comes into your life and for a lot of us we fine as long as we can entertain him in the living room, or simply serving him a special meal at the dining room table. It is when we truly let him in, all the way in to those intimate parts of our lives that we are shown how we are living, how habits and routines need to be changed if there is to be a place for him.

And no matter how much you love him, it isn’t always easy. It takes some work, and you are probably going to forget that plates need to be rinsed when you put them in the sink instead of leaving them on the coffee table, but the good news is he loves you enough not to go storming out the first or fifth time you screw it up. He doesn’t forget that he loves you just because he impaled his foot on a four inch high heel, and he isn’t out to change who you are. He simply wants you to have the best life possible, and usually that means change.

The question is how much do we trust him? Can we look at that mirror he shows us and know that it isn’t out of spite or malice that he presents us this image? Can we hold on to the love that desires only the best for us even when it is painful? Can we accept that we get things wrong, that we make mistakes, or that simply to move into our destiny we have to live a life where there is room for him and all things that come with him?

Marriage is one of God’s favorite images for his relationship with us because he wants to be that intimate. He wants to move out of the living room and see the bedroom that needs to be dusted. He wants a place to hang his shirts in your closet, and he has to have spot for his toothbrush by yours. And when you give him that you get so much more than you can ever imagine.