Things They Didn’t Teach About Marriage

If you are in a position that regularly counsels people about to get married, or find yourself in a position to give advice about marriage, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I was not told that would have been helpful I think. These are not bad things at all, just some unexpected things that I did not realize. It’s likely that a smarter person than I would realize them on their own, but I digress.

I understood and took great comfort in the idea that two become one. There can be no doubt that I am infinitely better with Mary. I was aware of the many benefits of this. What I wan’t aware of is how it affects you when you are away from each other, especially unexpectedly. Mary is in the middle of a several day stay in the hospital for a problem we did not know existed. All signs point to her being well, but it is taking far to long so far as I am concerned. No problem right. Of course you worry, but for us, we are in good shape. I cook well, I am capable of the basic home stuff such as laundry, dishes, etc. and even have the added bonus of an incredibly helpful step son. There is plenty of food, etc. All we need to get through this is here and all the skills required we possess. We are even blessed to have a caring church that immediately reached out for anything we might need and that checks on us. But Mary isn’t here. Two becoming one also means that when the other isn’t present, it doesn’t matter if you have all you need and can care for yourself, because it won’t be right. I didn’t realize how hard that would impact me. I guess I should have.

With the exception of church choir, Mary and I do the works of ministry we can be involved in together. We teach together, we serve together, etc. We really are better together. Now either one of us is capable of doing anything we do on our own, so it’s not as if we have a need to do it together, but it’s a joy for us. It’s what we do. Trying to prepare for those things feels very much like the job is only half finished. The joy in serving is is only half of what it should be. With every thought I try to outline, it seems incomplete. Maybe for another it would not be like this, I don’t know, but it’s that way for me. I think some warning would have been good.

We watch football together. I know, I am the luckiest guy in the world. I enjoy watching the various games. Always have really. I kept finding myself asking if she just saw that and looking to her seat only to realize she wasn’t there. We play board games together, but can’t do that with only one. We watch shows and movies together and talk about them. But not right now. No one warned that would be the case.

When we are together, even if it is us against the entire world, the world is hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded. I believe that. When she isn’t here though, I am just one more loud mouth idealist who can’t make the ideals reality. Just another dreamer that can not manifest the dream. The best parts of me are her, and without her, I am left with what feels like a shell. The best parts of me are in a hospital bed and frankly there is not a lot to offer at the moment. No one warned me of this. Then again, it could just be me. I have not really spoken to a lot of married couples about such things.

Mary is capable of caring for herself. She is an army veteran and more than able to physically repel anyone. She can do most anything better than I can and nearly everything that I can. It is a joy for me though that when we are together she does not have to. Going to church Sunday I found myself holding the door open, but she wasn’t there to walk through it. I could not hear her voice singing next to me. No one to giggle with during the sermon. It was like I was half praising God. That is a horrible feeling. No one warned me of that.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I was well prepared for life with Mary, but no one prepared me for a situation that would involve life without her for even a relatively short time. I think maybe it would have helped if someone had. Maybe not, who can tell. I understand that I am biased, but with her we are something special. It’s something similar to a force of nature, you can weather it when we blow through, but you can’t really stop it. No one warned me that alone I wouldn’t even be a gentle breeze. I guess that, at the end of this, perhaps we have something very unhealthy, but I tend to think that the two of us really did manage to become one and no one prepared us for being half after years of being a whole. Maybe it would be beneficial to prepare others for such an event. Who can tell.

2 Replies to “Things They Didn’t Teach About Marriage”

  1. Dang, Scott, you almost made me cry. Being in the middle of a separation (working towards getting back together…) I can attest to everything here. Everything. I am glad I am not alone in feeling this way. Of course, I know I am not, but tangibly reading it helps.

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