Joel and I married in July 2003. We met just a mere 13 months prior, dated each other for 6 months and were engaged for 3 months. It was a whirlwind relationship, but we both knew when we started dating that this was "it" and because we knew that in our hearts, our dating relationship was really about preparing ourselves for marriage.
We got married just 2 months after I graduated from college, so I was going through a lot of changes that summer and suddenly found myself in a 'til death do us part relationship. The years before that were all about me - my education, my friends, my relationship, my work, me, me, me. Although I loved Joel with all my heart when we got married, there was way too much "me" during that first year. I've said it before and I still believe it - Joel's the much better spouse in this relationship.
When we came back from our honeymoon, I suddenly found myself smack-dab in the middle of domestic duties. Joel was working full-time for the Guard and I hadn't found a full-time job yet. So, he was at work, and I was, well, at home. And our home was a small two-bedroom apartment. It took like 2 seconds to clean. I was bored.
You'd think that boredom would lead me to cook extravagant meals or offer to starch and iron his uniforms. Not so much. I was still in the "me" stage. Joel would come home from work and have to be the one to figure out dinner because his wife was way to self-focused to consider that perhaps her husband would want something to eat. I would say the majority of the time, Joel would either cook or get so fed-up, he'd offer to do dinner out together. We spent so much money that first year eating out.
Our physical relationship was great. Again, I had nothing better to do then to do that and clean. So, we were both pretty happy in that regard. But inside, I was really struggling to let go of part of myself and become a partner with Joel. I remember taking off my wedding ring/engagement ring at home, because the weight of it was too great for me - the weight of the responsibility and commitment. I wanted to be married. I loved Joel so much. But I really struggled within myself to become his partner.
I think Joel knew in his heart, what my struggle was. And because he truly loved me and wanted the best for me, he knew that he just needed to give me time to grow up and make the decision to be a partner. He was so wise to do that, because if he had pushed me, I would have pushed back, and then I would have struggled even more to let go of my own interests.
I don't know when the moment happened. The moment when I realized that in order for our marriage to work, I needed to stop fighting the "becoming one" thing. I'm sure it was the Holy Spirit's conviction. But, I can't pinpoint a moment. Eventually, my heart opened to love Joel great, higher, deeper and truer. He deserves that kind of love. He's a pretty amazing guy.
I'm so thankful for a husband who was willing to sit-back patiently and love me, even when I wasn't who I was supposed to be for him.
More to come...