Sunday, July 29, 2012

On the Seventy-Seventh Day...

My sister, Ashley, is one of the wisest people I know. I sent her an e-mail last week struggling to make sense of a few hard things that have been on my mind: marriage, body image, adjustment. She reminded me of some very important life lessons I'm still struggling to learn:
-"shoulds" only lead to guilt and regret
-expectations will always fail you
-it gets better

After reading and pondering her e-mail--thinking about expectations and how I can lessen them--I realized for the first time that this summer hasn't really been much harder than any other. Summer camp is just hard. And tiring. And draining. And lengthy. I know this. We've done this. We've worked many a summer while we were dating and we've had to sneak-in time together: a quick smooch in the walk-in refrigerator, late-night strolls, days off. It's not uncommon for summer camp to be hard on our relationship. But this summer has been particularly difficult, not because of the schedule or the people or the camp, but because my expectations were not met.

Suddenly, I assumed that the rules had changed.
That now that we're married we should be thrilled. All the time.
Now that we're married we should see each other more often.
Now that we're married we should connect differently.
Now that we're married we should live happily ever after.


I'm quite talented at losing perspective. At believing that this thing in my face is the only thing in the whole wide world. That this struggle, this trial, this discomfort, will last forever and I surely won't survive it. That's how I've felt about marriage. That it "should" look different, feel different, be different.

But who wrote these rules I'm so sure I need to keep?
Who says we always have to be happy?
Who says it's bad to spend some nights alone?
Who says these first few months are a reflection of what marriage will look like for the rest of our lives?
(yeah, I'm kinda chuckling at that one too...)

So the other day, Jeremy and I started dreaming about life after camp. Because there is life after camp. Lots of it. We've only been married for 76 days! Good grief. We started talking about how we can still have that lazy drive across the country. We can still arrive to that good community we've been longing for. We can still take our time, sleep-in on weekends, and snuggle. We can find a place to call our own, move in, decorate, enjoy. We can have our friends over and play games late into the night. We can go on adventures. We can take all the time we need figuring out life, marriage, and how to love each other better.


EMILY STAR said...

That must have been a really good conversation. :) Cause even reading this, I want to come over when you get settled in that community and play games with you guys. :)