I always wanted the kind of marriage that everyone dreams about. My hopes were high and I think I gave my best efforts to prepare myself for when that special day would come.
And it did come!
12 years later and I am left with a myriad of lessons and valuable experiences.
But married life for me has not been all about Instagram-worthy photos and likable statuses. There were times when I asked myself if I had made the right choice to marry. And, I must confess, there were times I wished I had chosen otherwise…
He is Not All Mine
After our wedding, my husband was immediately called as the Second Counselor in the bishopric. At first, it was okay because it was just the two of us. But when the children came, I was left alone to watch over them during Sacrament meetings. Every time he was released from a calling, he just got called to another.
Five kids later and I am still left to tend to them during Sacrament meetings because of my husband’s current calling. Imagine the effort just to help them behave appropriately for more than an hour. There were times I felt so tired that I cried myself out in the CR just so the children wouldn’t see me.
Because I wanted so much to have him all to myself, I forgot that my husband is, first and foremost, a son of God. He has a divine role to watch over the souls of those entrusted to his care. Not just me or our children. I also forget sometimes that I am his helpmeet, someone who needs to support him in his God-given callings.
I Am Not All His
When you marry someone, you are to give your all to the one you made your vows to. I wanted to give all of my time to my husband and cater to his needs. It was so for a year.
Then we had our firstborn. I thought, “I can manage. I can still be the ideal wife that he comes home to.”
Then another child… Less time to prepare meals.
The third one came… Less time to do my hair and makeup.
Then came the fourth… Too tired to wait up for him after Law School.
Then the fifth arrived… No more weekly dates.
Feelings of inadequacy and frustration sometimes overcome me. And again, I forgot that I have divine roles as a woman – to serve not only my husband but the souls entrusted to my care, especially my children.
The “Uh-huh” Moments
Every moment spent apart, serving people other than each other, was a teaching moment for us.
My husband has become a positive influence on the people he is serving. I see lives touched. His example is appreciated. I have seen him grow in ways I never could have imagined had he stayed with me all the time.
I look at the children and I feel solace. The joy they bring to my husband can never be replaced by whatever romantic ideas I had in mind. I have given of myself to him in ways I could never have done have I not spent that much time with the kids.
It dawned on me that it is not about my husband. It is not about me. This whole marriage thing is not about us at all…
Marriage is part of a bigger whole, an avenue for a loving Father in Heaven to magnify two people in a synergistic relationship. What I can do alone and what my husband can do by himself, added up, can never be greater than what we can do together.
That’s how marriage fits into the great Plan of Happiness. It broadens our opportunities to take part in building the Kingdom of God. It increases our capacity to love, to serve and to take care of God’s children.
We have changed. Our perspective, our desires and our efforts are slowly being tailored to what the Lord wants for us as a married couple. Perfection is still way beyond where we are right now. But as I look at our children and the people we have the opportunity to serve, I know I have made the right choice. My efforts in preparing for and sustaining our marriage are all worth it.