Monday, April 08, 2013

An upside down day, reflections and two glorious Feast Days in One Day

As I wrote in the very happy post
on Mr. Husband's birthday cake,
it was a beautiful day.
I am so glad to be married to Mr. Husband.
By Friday we had a really upside-down day
that found us missing presanctified liturgy
at our far-away church
in part because we just did not plan the day out
well enough and in other ways because
we ended up needing to be in the car more
in the afternoon
when I was fasting for communion and I ended up
feeling really ill.
I now understand how fasting and fasting for
communion is for a meeting of Christ.
That I failed to show up to this meeting
was a real sorrow for me.
We had booked an inexpensive hotel suite
for the weekend so we could be near to our
church and go to this and the other services.
I am still lamenting this as
the last evening presanctified of our
far-away church is this coming weekend
and we already know that in all likelihood
that we will not go to our far-away church
at all but stay in town and go to our
nearer church.
We're both really exhausted.
My relapse with the mono thing
really has us reeling a bit.
In the middle of our Friday
when we were trying our best to grapple with
a more upside-down day,
I read this long quote I found online
to Mr. Husband about marriage
and how it becomes integral to one's life and why
the author cautions (in this case a woman)
from not quitting it.
{Mr. Husband and I of course are not
contemplation this,
we both know we are more like
Ruth Bell Graham's answer to the question of
did she ever think of divorcing and she answers,
in effect,
divorce, never, murder sometimes.}
Here's the quote as I found it that Friday:

“You make concessions when you're married a long time that you don't believe you'll ever make when you're beginning. You say to yourself when you're young, oh, I wouldn't tolerate this or that or the other thing, you say love is the most important thing in the world and there's only one kind of love and it makes you feel different than you feel the rest of the time, like you're all lit up. But time goes by and you've slept together a thousand nights and smelled like spit-up when babies are sick and seen your body droop and get soft. And some nights you say to yourself, it's not enough, I won't put up with another minute. And then the next morning you wake up and the kitchen smells like coffee and the children have their hair all brushed and the birds are eating out of the feeder and you look at your husband and he's not the person you used to think he was but he's your life. The house and the children and so much more of what you do is built around him and your life, too, your history. If you take him out it's like cutting his face out of all the pictures, there's a big hole and it's ugly. It would ruin everything. It's more than love, it's more important than love...

It's hard. And it's hard to understand unless you're in it. And it's hard for you to understand now because of where you are and what you're feeling. But I wanted to say it...because I won't be able to say it when I need to, when it's one of those nights and you're locking the front door because of foolishness about romance, about how things are supposed to be. You can be hard, and you can be judgmental, and with those two things alone you can make a mess of your life the likes of which you won't believe. It's so much easier...the being happy. It's so much easier, to learn to love what you have instead of yearning always for what you're missing, or what you imagine you're missing. It's so much more peaceful.” 
― Anna Quindlen, One True Thing
I know, 
it is really a powerful quotation. 
Sadly, one that I think most people these days
should read as I from what I gather 
most marriages by year 7-9 if not earlier
go through it. 
We are fragile and weak
and I don't think it is worth pretending that
outside of Christ 
that we can do anything at all
other than to make a mess of things quite often. 

Here was the main picture in the living room of
the rented suite we had.
I found the man in the left corner to be unexpected
in dress in contrast to everyone else.
One of the things that are important in
sorting out more upside down days
that don't go according to plan
is to take some time to talk about it
and figure out what to do so that next time may
be better.
One thing that Mr. Husband and I learned on our
marriage class that we took last May
was a 2-minute listening exercise.
One person talks for 2 minutes,
the other listens
and then says back to the person what they heard
the other say.
And then they switch and the other talks,
the other listens.
It can really help both sides be heard,
even if what to do next is not immediately clear
it is a great start.
I really don't think one understands marriage
at all before one is in it;
I had lots of theoretical ideas,
as well as some naive, ideal or simplistic
ones.  And I did know some of my closest friend's
ups and downs of marriage
which really did help as I was not wanting it
out of an theoretical idea or thinking that it would make
life easier, simpler or more fun.
{Not that I think marriage is all horrible or always draining;
I wrote here about the joys of marriage
and other things.}
One thing that I don't think I understood but
the quote I posted above really touched on
is how marriage changes everything.
Both Mr. Husband and I either in
stages or all-at-once
were ripped out of our former worlds that
were cohesive wholes
to build a new world, a new
cohesive world together.
I knew also because I pay attention to things and
my friend's lives,
that the first year of marriage has challenges because
the two previously whole-world individuals
are trying to make a new world
and the pieces of the old worlds do not all fit
and trying to figure out how to mold a new life
takes a lot of energy, thought and time.
And Mr. Husband and I agree that it takes
more energy and time and work
when the couple who marry are a bit older,
like we are.
We are not young early twenties who are still
very mold-able and waiting to be formed.
We both come with long histories
of doing things on our own.
All of a sudden one cannot do things
the way they have always been done.
And our weaknesses are seen by another person,
ones we may not of known were there.
So it is.
As my friend told me just before I went down to
NJ for the first time to see Mr. Husband
and his world here:
marriage will be better and harder than you think.

Our icon corner in our
Mr. Husband loves very much the
Feast of the Annunciation
and it was a joy to have it with him in our
far-away church.

The birthday cake is above;
it was a success - our far-away church loved it!
I loved our suite.
So simple, with great sunlight and uncluttered.

Super cute small kitchen!
Something we are still working on is
how to best use the space in our own
With all the traveling on Sunday that we do
in our far-away church
and Mr. Husband's work and other demands
we are always short on time
and are both wishing for better.

And I've been sick almost constantly in some form
since mid-February and that
is difficult.

Yet there is great beauty.
From the prologue:
Gabriel appeared in all of his angelic brightness and saluted her: "Rejoice, highly favored one! The Lord is with you" (St. Luke 1:28), and the rest in order as it is written in the Gospel of the saintly Luke. With this angelic annunciation and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Virgin, the salvation of mankind and restoration of all creation began. The history of the New Testament was opened by the words of the Archangel Gabriel: "Rejoice, highly favored one" This is to imply that the New Testament was to signify joy to mankind and to all created things. It is from this that the Annunciation is considered not only a great feast, but a joyful feast as well.

The Feast of the Holy Cross.
So beautiful.
We both had a joy-filled Sunday with
our-far away church.
I showed some my knitting baby blanket progress
and everyone loved the cake and it was a
really happy day.
Mr. Husband and I managed to go out to dinner
for the Feast.
I had this beautiful fish dinner
and Mr. Husband had a stew with clams and mussels
and it was very lovely.
Both of us are touched by the friendships we have
here and how people care for us.
I just pray that we can both regain strength as
Lent and our lives at present are quite tiring.
God is with us in all things.


Lisa said...

Our 1st year of marriage was definitely the hardest. We moved over 1500 miles away from home. We dove in head-first and it was hard. But I would not change one thing. We were forced to cling to each other and get through it together. No matter the trials we face, or the fights we have, we are entirely inseparable.

Your friend was so right in saying that marriage is harder and better than you can ever imagine. You cannot ever be wholly prepared for it. This reminds me of a song I hear now and again on Christian radio that I absolutely love called "Dancing in the Minefields". The chorus goes as follows:

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for"

elizabeth said...

Lisa ~ thank you. You are a blessing to me! I wish we were closer!!! Thanks so much for your comment :)

E Helena E said...

You have much insight already! This is a great post.

Martha said...

The cake sounds really good...wish I could've had a taste, but maybe I'll make it. And his fish dinner looks great, with pears on top? What did YOU have?
Rob and I have been married for 13 years this year! ♥ I think each year, there are more struggles, but we compromise and work together and in the end grow to love each other more!!!

Susan said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I have been reading your blog for years now.
My husband and I have been married for 42 years...there are struggles and there are joys.
A good marriage is made up of both..
As far as fasting, you don't need to fast when you are sick.
Talk to your priest about this.
Fasting is really hard, and not for the sick, or the traveller...which you were both.
Be kind to yourself Elizabeth.
You sound like a wonderful person, a good wife, and a devoted Orthodox Christan...

GretchenJoanna said...

I agree with Susan, you should not be fasting but building your strength. Get plenty of protein! You are surely doing a podvig by bearing the suffering of your illness with patience. May God strengthen you and your dear husband for the tasks you are called to do!

elizabeth said...

thanks Susan! Great to meet you - hope you will comment again!!!

Thanks E-H and thanks GretchenJoanna... :)

Martha - it is apples on the fish - that was my dish and it was so yummy!!! Mr. Husband had a stew...

Mimi said...

We just passed 22 years in late March, and that quote is so true, but marriage gets better every day!
I agree with the fabulous Susan - be healthy and take care of yourself, it's really important.