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I am Newly Single

March 31, 2011
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I remember a conversation with my dad in my early college years when I found out that my mom was not the first significant woman in his life.  My dad had been dating a girl throughout a few of his own college years and, as my dad tells the story (take that for what it’s worth), she really wanted to marry him.  Really wanted to marry him.  However, he was heading off to medical school after college graduation, and didn’t want to be married during that time.  He and the girl eventually broke up because of that.  For a long time after hearing that story, I honestly thought his reason for the break up was stupid.  I naively thought that a new marriage would just “get through” that kind of stressful time with ease.  In a rare moment of romanticism, my dad later confessed that, “it just wasn’t time for me to meet your mother yet,” but still, I thought.  Still, why would the beginning of medical school be a reason not to be with somebody?

I am now figuring out that my dad had greater wisdom at his age than I.  My husband is a third year PhD student, working his tail off day and night to research, write, submit, and publish papers.  I have seen him for perhaps a total of ten hours in the last week, and he is now most familiar to me in the form of a lump under the covers when I leave for work in the morning.  I wouldn’t change being married for the world, but for all intensive purposes, I have been single for the last week.

Perhaps the most difficult lesson is that of selflessness.  I thought I was a selfless person.  I thought I always wanted to put others first.  But turns out, when I come home from work and am utterly exhausted, I am not naturally inclined to do my husband and my laundry by myself.  Turns out I do not happily make our meals for the week in the quiet loneliness of our apartment.  Turns out I start to feel resentful for the work I have to do alone, even though I know full well that my husband would do anything to share those burdens if he could.  Turns out that love, sometimes, does not make one naturally selfless.

One of my dear friends tells the story of spending the first five years of her marriage figuring out why she wasn’t “loved.”  She thought when she got married, she would be the constant recipient of an overflow of patience, kindness, gentility, and mercy.  She thought these qualities would flow freely and without pause from her husband, and it was unfathomable to her that they didn’t.  It took her five years to realize that God’s intention was also for her to be demonstrating those things to her spouse.  Nothing bursts a woman’s bubble like figuring out she’s been wrong for five years.  And nothing smashes the remains of that bubble into the ground like figuring out she hasn’t yet learned the traits she is supposed to be demonstrating.  Learning takes practice and work and perseverance.  Learning takes commitment and motivation.  Learning takes time.  Learning sucks.

I realized this past week without seeing much of my husband, that I am still learning to love.  I am still learning to demonstrate all the traits I want to receive.  And it isn’t always pretty.  But this is my commitment, and this is our life.  My husband and I are, and will continue to be, learning together.

Maybe if my dad had met my mom in college his attitude about marriage and medical school would have been different.  Maybe his wise logic wouldn’t have won out over matters of the heart, or my mother’s insistence.  She’s a pretty strong force to be reckoned with.  I bet she could have convinced him to go for it.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2011 8:37 am

    Lauren, your candidness and honesty are amazing. I love reading your posts because you don’t gloss over anything and speak such truth. Hope you are well, friend!

  2. April 1, 2011 11:11 am

    And just think, if your dad didn’t wait for the “one,” you wouldn’t be here. 🙂

  3. Jessica Lessard permalink
    April 1, 2011 8:03 pm

    “I am not naturally inclined to do my husband and my laundry by myself. ”
    I don’t know if you intentionally referenced the dirty deed here, but i just laughed so hard whilst reading this post. hahaha thank you.

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