Monday, June 4, 2012
No Place Like...
Sometimes, I think the circumstances surrounding my marriage were pretty unusual. At the time of our wedding last July, I'd just finished a year of service and needed a job. I lived back at home for three remaining weeks before the wedding, then moved four hours away to be where Andrew was getting his Masters degree. I guess most people find work, settle in a place to live (which is often closer to where they grew up, if that's what they prefer), and then get married. If they wed shortly after college, it seems like they typically live and find work near their fiances. It makes it pretty simple to see each other often, and although marriage involves a whole slew of new experiences, your work life and surroundings stay pretty much the same. It's not uncommon for people to get married in grad school, I suppose, or for an academic's life to involve a lot of relocation, but I do think sometimes that I did this whole thing in reverse.
I don't regret a bit of it, despite the sacrifices of missing our families, constant travel, and my not getting a "real" job until 8 months into moving out to where I live now (little-known fact: this blog is the fruit of my unemployment!). I'd much rather be married and struggling a little than not married and far away from Andrew. Lots of couples do it more willingly than us, maybe, but in our case, one year of long-distance dating was plenty.
Given that we met in college, Andrew and I are lucky that at least our families' homes are in the same state and relatively close, although neither of us lived there during most of our engagement. As hard as that was, I can barely imagine what it must be like to live so far apart while you're engaged that it's hard to see each other. I can, however, identify with the scariness of preparing to pick up your life and transplant it to an entirely new place after getting married. When I moved here, Andrew had already been at his university for a year, so he had friends, a parish, and knew his way around, which definitely helped me. Still, on top of the adjustment of a more shared life, looking for work, and living with a boy, there was the adjustment of new roads, new faces, and even new weather.
It's taken a while, up until about two months ago, for me to feel at home, but there's one thing I'm so thankful for. You know how everyone tells you the first year of marriage is the hardest? Having curently been married for less than a year, I'm not totally sure yet if that's true, but the past 10 months or so have absolutely been hard. The thing is, it hasn't been hard in the ways I would've expected. Nearly every difficult thing we experienced, from my unemployment to the pain of distance from our friends to spiritual attacks (they weren't uncommon), was an external issue, not an internal one between the two of us. As a result of so many hard days, I feel incredibly blessed to have fallen more and more in love with my husband. A somewhat isolated living situation and a bit of a financial strain could've caused huge amounts of resentment and short-temperedness, I'm sure, but by His grace, all of the hard stuff helped us love each other better. I know the Lord has been telling me something, and as our first anniversary approaches, I've been trying to figure out what that is. So, so many times, He's asked me to trust that we'll be taken care of, difficult circumstances or not, and so many times I've clung to my desire to control things and make them happen myself. You just want the peace of mind that comes from knowing what's ahead, you know? I know in my head it doesn't work like that, and very very slowly, my heart is catching up. It's Him who brings real peace and it's all about surrender.
I'll leave you with this: Fulton Sheen said, "Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing." It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” Oh, how I am constantly learning this lesson.
What about you? What will your living and location situation be after your wedding?