Many people have questioned me on my choice of major. Why would I study family life? Some are especially perplexed when they find I was originally working on English as a career option.But to those who don’t understand why I study marriage I say this: I am studying the most important institution every established. This has always been my belief, and being married has only solidified that.
Two and a half months ago Paul and I knelt at an alter and made special promises to each other that bonded us together as husband and wife. This decision wasn’t a hasty one made amidst the high of teenage hormones, nor was it made in the chasms of desperate loneliness. It was made in a dairy fridge where I knelt on the cold metal floor and asked if this was truly the next move I should make. A calm and reassuring feeling confirmed my choice, and two days later when Paul asked me to marry him my answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’ Still I had this little place inside me that felt like I could be giving something up. I secretly mourned for the loss of selfish time I was planning on spending for me. I could no longer set my course to orbit around myself.
Ten months is a long time to be engaged-- everyone told us that, and it felt long. Many people didn’t think we could make it unspotted to the temple, and we were encouraged to move up the wedding as some kind of insurance. I tried grasping that idea for two days, but I cannot adequately describe the sickness I felt. The Lord let me know that my ten month engagement was his plan for me too. He knew I still had so much growing up to do. Trials I faced at school, home, and work enabled a hardening process to occur within myself which helped solidify the lessons I had to learn to make me into the wife Paul deserved.
But we didn’t ride off into the sunset to live out the rest of our perfect life carefree. Last Saturday when I tried to wake up early so I could shower before work I was overcome with exhaustion from the night before. Sleep had not come easy as shivers from the chilly night air woke me from time to time. I tried to snuggle closer to Paul’s warmth but was elbowed in the face as he tried to shift his arm around me. Sleeping together takes coordination like a dance.I was never good at dancing. I rolled back over to the cold side of the bed rubbing my face as I fell back asleep for the fourth time. I had not completely drifted off when my alarm began to ring, and before I could quite register the sound my hand swung over uncontrollably on top of the snooze button. . . fifteen times. . . no kidding. When I finally realized what time it was I had just enough minutes left to shimmy into some wrinkled clothes, grab a quick bowl of cereal, and hustle out the door, still unshowerd.
Work was hard. I was tired of hearing customers complain about things I can’t fix, and my shoes were digging into my pinky toes. I just wanted to go on a date with my sweetie. Upon arriving at my apartment I realized I hadn’t done the dishes from the night before and had no towels left in the house. No food remained to make anything other than a toasted cheese sandwich and there was no money to go out. I started to dust the living room and realized that I was sweating profusely from the heat of our toaster we call home and I turned the AC on high. I was starting to feel really down and by the end of the evening I began to cry thinking about the possibility that I may not be able to go back to school. Life just felt so hard. I kept reminding myself I signed up for this—not just when I said ‘yes’ to marry my sweetie, but to my Father before I was born.
Sunday morning as I got out of bed, sun beaming through the curtains, I looked over at my cute husband who reached his hand out to the wrinkled spot I had been laying, and I smiled. All the hardness of Saturday was gone in that moment when I was perfectly content to just stare at his lidded eyes and listen to the sound of his sleeping wheeze. Sometimes. . . well, most of the time, it is the hard experiences that make happy moments that much more sweet. I laid back down beside Paul and held on to his outstretched hand knowing that many more hard times are coming. But I can’t think of another person I’d rather spend them with.