Long time, no see

It’s 10:45pm and Brian and I just got home. The week has been crazy. You all know about it on my side (if not, read the posts from Monday and Tuesday), but just when my work life went nuts, so did Brian’s. So, about the time I need my classroom helper, he has a ton of other (albeit, totally legitimate) things to do.

Tonight, I went to my brother’s birthday dinner (good job getting older, Daniel!) alone, because Brian had a work meeting. I went from there out to Dripping Springs to meet him at the storage unit so we could move my classroom belongings to Cedar Park (thank you for the truck, Galligan family!).

When we got out of our vehicles at the storage place, we just smiled at each other. It read, “Long time, no see.”

We went from a summer of both being in the house all the time and having as much together time as we could stand to a sudden flurry of late nights, no meals together, rushing around, and trying to catch each other on the phone. And when I say that the switch was sudden, I mean that the world changed last Thursday.

But, all of my classroom stuff is IN my classroom now (thank the Lord!). Organizing and decorating can begin tomorrow (parents and students come Monday– yikes!). Brian moved box after box without complaint. He was wonderful. And on the long drive from storage unit to new school, we talked on the phone, trying to catch up on the craziness in the other’s life.

I would joke this summer, within earshot of Brian, that my friends needed to let me know when they were free because Brian and I had a little too much time together in the house. It’s funny how quickly things change.

I told him I’d really like a date night when we have time to breathe again… in October 😉

 

Mere mortals

When we got home after church and date night tonight, Brian and I had an awkward conversation.

There was something I really needed to tell him and I wasn’t sure when to do it. Realizing there would never be a perfect opportunity to have this conversation, I walked down the hall and blurted it out.

“B, I’m an organ donor. And when I say organ donor, I mean organs, tissue, eyes– anything that can be used. This is just a body and when I’m done with it, someone else should use it.”

My husband locked eyes with me. The corners of his mouth curled up and his face spread into a smile. He walked up and wrapped his arms around me. “I love you,” he said.

I don’t think I needed to tell Brian that for him to know it. I think that if I was in a terrible accident and wasn’t going to make it, that Brian would know how I felt. I just wanted to say it to make sure. I wanted to make sure that in that moment with stress and anxiety and emotions and heartache, that my wishes were clear. This is just a body. I’m not going to need it where I’m going.

I don’t want to die before Brian. I’m crazy in love with this man. I don’t want his heart to hurt like that. And I don’t want him to go before me, either. I don’t want to live a day without him. He’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me beside God making me his own. In the dream-world in my head, we’ll die at the same time wrapped in each others’ arms like in ‘The Notebook’ so we’ll never have to live a day apart. I realize there’s nothing realistic about that at all… hence the blurting in the hallway.

In pre-marital counseling through Austin Stone, we read John Piper’s This Momentary Marriage. I had a hard time with concepts like not being married to Brian for eternity and the marriage as a picture of Christ and the church. But Piper explains things well, and eventually, I understood. 

“So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.

Very soon the shadow will give way to Reality. The partial will pass into the Perfect. The foretaste will lead to the Banquet. The troubled path will end in Paradise. A hundred candle-lit evenings will come to their consummation in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And this momentary marriage will be swallowed up by Life. Christ will be all and in all. And the purpose of marriage will be complete.

To that end may God give us eyes to see what matters most in this life. May the Holy Spirit, whom he sends, make his crucified and risen Son the supreme Treasure of our lives. And may the Treasure so satisfy our souls that the root of every marriage-destroying impulse is severed. And may the marriage-watching world be captivated by the covenant-keeping love of Christ.”

We won’t live forever. And more than likely, one of us will have to live on this earth for some time without the other. And if I spend all my time clinging to Brian, when he’s gone, I’m left with nothing. But if our marriage is focused on Christ, then would I lose the love of my life, but not my reason for living.

 

My husband is insane

Yesterday Brian recalled our day from his point of view, mentioning the obsessive Olympics viewing with three screens going at once. Yes, three sets of sports going, and sometimes more than one would have the audio blaring.

It’s too much input for me. Brian can do that– he can have something in his earbuds that’s separate from the visual on a desktop screen and he’ll be flipping through text on the iPad, all at the same time. I can’t chew gum and walk.

He also remembers a great deal of the information he bombards himself with. If I’m not focusing on something, I probably won’t remember it at all– and that’s one thing at a time. He’s crazy. This behavior is insane. Except, it works for him.

Brian’s brain works differently than mine. He is stimulated by the constant barrage of information, whereas I’m overwhelmed by it. I have to remember this in conversation– that his brain works differently.  And he has to remember that mine does, too.

We learned early on that Brian continues to think about issues after they are talked about and often returns to those conversations with new thoughts or perspectives. He is quick with responses, but I am slow with them. He has an opinion about everything. Everything. He likes debate and the types of conversations I would deem arguments. Tone is the lens through which I will hear words– and the tone is what stays with me, not the words. I like one thing at a time. Our brains work differently.

But I love his brain. It was one of the first things I noticed about him. I told him again today that his intelligence is sexy. It really is. He is a thinker, an analyzer, and an information junkie. And what I see as sensory overload is a wonderful Sunday afternoon to him. I went upstairs and scrubbed the shower. It was great.

Trash talk

I am learning how to speak to my husband directly. I guess I’m getting past the niceties and hemming and hawing and getting down to actually saying things to my husband. I’m not a very direct or confrontational person. Well, I’m not at all– I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and I let that get the best of me.

This inability to speak directly doesn’t work within a marriage, so I’m working on it. It has taken some very long and drawn out conversations, a lot of self talk, and a bit of prayer, but I am finally able to ask my husband a question. Don’t laugh. I do realize I can be a ridiculous person and I’m working on it. This is a fault that torments me– why can’t I make a simple statement or ask a simple question?

 

The following conversations are not recorded verbatim, but are pretty darn accurate examples of one month into this marriage versus four and a half months in:

One month in:

Lindsey: Hey, honey. Oh, hey, yeah. You look nice today. Yeah… So, umm, I would really love it, IF you have time, if you would umm… oh nevermind. I got it. I’ll take care of it. You look busy. And really nice– did I say that? Yeah, you’re great. Love you!

(Lindsey leaves and takes out the trash)

Same issue four and a half months in:

Lindsey: Hey, B– can you take out the trash, please?

Brian: You got it. I’ll do it when I go downstairs.

Lindsey: Thank you!

 

Yes– this happened. I didn’t want to be a “nag” and I let that consume me– to the point I wouldn’t even ask for help around the house.

But here’s the deal: I am not alone in this marriage. I need help and sometimes the help I need is not obvious to Brian. If I keep trying to do everything myself, I’m going to start resenting him and that doesn’t lead to anywhere good. And if I can’t even ask him to take out the trash, how will I verbalize when I have an actual need?

I can’t let my obsessive fear of becoming a nagging wife turn me into a silent, resentful one. There is a balance in there somewhere. Direct communication with my husband is a good beginning.

Dear diary

Quote

I’ve been journaling this summer.

This is something I have attempted throughout my life. I usually make it two entries in. Two entries, and then it goes into a drawer or under a bed. Those journals were often selected for their interesting covers or fancy organic paper. So many pages left untouched…

But when I would feel that desire to journal again, I didn’t want to write in the old one with two feeble and uninspired entries and a cover that screamed whatever I was trying to project about myself the previous year. I just had to go get a new one– with a special cover to indicate my taste at the time, or at least the taste to which I aspired. Inevitably, the pattern would hold true and two entries later, our brief tryst was over.

So, this summer, I vowed to break the pattern.

My journal is plain black, free of decor, ornaments, or inspiring quotes. The pages are plain white– no lines or colors or pictures. It’s basic and beautiful in its simplicity. I am also writing in a different way. There is no account of the day, no he said-she said. I’m writing my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, and my prayers. And I’m making the writing time intentional– journeying somewhere to write. Coffee shops are good. Today I tried a pub– also good.

I’m really enjoying writing about Brian. Sometimes I see things more clearly when they’re written down. No faces or expressions or emotions– just the black text on the white page. But I tell my journal things I don’t tell Brian, and that’s not good. Sure, I will have private thoughts that I may never share, but I’m telling my journal things I should tell Brian. It’s helping me to see that I’m holding back and not being completely honest.

The solution is not for Brian to read my journal, though he’s free to. The solution is for me to be open and honest with my husband, even on the hard stuff. Even on the stuff that’s easier to put into writing than into conversation.

Note: A Spaten Franziskaner is a perfect pairing for an hour of journaling– thank you, Flying Saucer!

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. –Oscar Wilde

I bet you expected more fights

I bet you expected more fights to be written about on this blog.

It’s okay, this is a safe place. You can admit it. I bet you initially had a reality TV-like desire to see the rough parts of how two naive youngsters (or at least one youngster and a rapidly-becoming-middle-aged guy) would handle the conflicts of a brand new marriage. Really? You can’t cop to it?

It’s okay, I understand. <wink>

I had a conversation with a coworker today about the blog. She asked me how it was going and I told her it was going really well. She asked if we have blogged any really interesting fights. I told her no, but only because there have not really been any.

Sure, we have had some tense moments, and Lindsey almost threw me off a boat. We blogged those, but that has been about it. No knock-down drag-outs, no major blowups. I know, it’s disappointing.

But the more I thought about it I told my colleague that I think it is partially because of the blog that we have not had those fights. Because we talk about what we post about and because we are really open about what we want to write about our communication is really good right now. Generally we both read each post before it goes up, and conversations and discussion do ensue. I learn a lot about her from those talks, and I bet she does too.

I don’t think you have to start a blog to communicate well, but I do think checking in with your spouse daily about life, you day and the marriage– and being honest about it all– is vital. This blog keeps our communication open, timely, and clear. I think all marriages need that.

Talking on two different levels

Lindsey and I had a realization today, we have very different communication styles. It’s not like this a surprise, but we just discovered it’s even deeper than we thought.

Fundamentally, we just approach things differently. I am very rational, I like pragmatic steps and actions. Lindsey is more emotionally driven. For her, how she feels is very fundamental to how she deals with problems. For me, it’s not irrelevant, but it’s kind of close.

But what was interesting today was the fact that we were actually arguing for the same position, but we saw it so differently we didn’t even recognize it. We approached the issue from such different points of view we could not see our own shared view.

So, this post is going to be a little different. Instead of us sharing our random newlywed insights we are going to solicit yours. I know, I know, most of you are not the blog commenting-type. Well, get over it and jump in.

Question for our readers: In a marriage or relationship, how do you overcome the difference in communication styles? Any practical tips or advice? How long did it take to iron this out?

A learning day

We’re learning how to communicate. Today was a learning day. I hesitate to post right now because it is still all so fresh, but it’s almost midnight, there’s no post for today, and Brian has posted the last few days. So, here I am.

I’m really frustrating my husband. (Don’t worry– he’s really frustrating me, too, but we’ll get to that later.) Brian can speak loudly at times– he’s passionate and his volume fluctuates as he speaks. We discussed today that sometimes I take this personally and go silent because I don’t want a fight and that’s what raised voices mean to me. I also back down on decisions and continually utter the phrase “I don’t care” which is incomprehensible to my husband who literally has an opinion on everything. I need to take his yes as yes and his no and no. I also need to not back down when he doesn’t immediately get on board with my desired weekend activities. I have a lot of work to do. For the sake of getting this posted by midnight, let’s only address some of that tonight.

I don’t want to tell my husband what to do. I learned in our pre-marital counseling that I am commanded to respect my husband. This actually means something different to him than I had imagined it meant. I plan to post on it further in the pre-marital counseling series because it was so shocking to me, and now it turns out to be a huge struggle for me.

I thought I was trying to respect my husband. I was trying not to tell him what to do, be his boss, or yell at him. But apparently what I thought of as “respecting him” is frustrating the daylights out of him. Great. I guess I just don’t understand what the Bible means by “respect.” Did I take it too far? Am I trying in the wrong areas? Couldn’t Scripture be more explicit– like maybe a follow up “how to show him that respect” section”?

I can step up and share more of my opinions, but I still don’t see a point in making up an opinion in a case where I have none at all. And I’m not going to tell my husband what to do on a Saturday– it’s his Saturday, too. He cringed when I said “city-wide garage sale” and I don’t want to be responsible for anyone having a bad day (except my students– I’ll take FULL responsibility for that!).

I know the answer tonight is to pray, commit these things to God, and then continue to work hard to communicate well with Brian. I get that and I will do those things. But after talking these things to death, I still can’t see the solution through my drooping eyelids. I know God does. This is one of those times I wish He used more direct forms of communication… like a text message.